Council Update: CSC to implement fatherhood engagement services

In response to state legislation passed in 2022, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County has contracted with Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County to directly engage with fathers to improve child well-being, staff shared with the board at its most recent meeting.

Sickle Cell will work with local fathers – with children from mother's pregnancy up to age 3 – by providing in-person home visits, using an evidence-based curriculum, during non-traditional work hours to meet the needs of families. The program will support fathers in taking and maintaining an active role in their child’s life, strengthening family and co-parenting relationships, and promoting the health and wellness of their children. 

The Council, acting as the fiscal and administrative agent for the Healthy Start Coalition in Palm Beach County, will fund the program up to $50,000 for fiscal year 2022-23 and up to $250,000 for fiscal year 2023-24. The council will receive $50,000 in state funding for fiscal year 2022-23 and is projected to receive $168,148 in state funding for fiscal year 2023-24 through the Healthy Start Coalition.

In other business

DULCE Program: After engaging in a competitive bid process, the Council has contracted with FoundCare, the largest non-governmental Federally Qualified Health Clinic in Palm Beach County, to establish the DULCE program in its pediatric clinic. DULCE is a universal approach based in pediatric care settings that proactively addresses social determinants of health, promotes the healthy development of infants from birth to six months of age, and provides support to their families. This includes care coordination, child development and legal services. The annual cost of supporting DULCE at the clinic site will not exceed $35,000, and the program is expected to begin in May 2023. 

Great Ideas Initiative: The Council will release a request for proposals for its Great Ideas Initiative (GII) May 9; submission deadline is June 20. Local nonprofits with operating budgets of less than $1 million are invited to apply. The initiative is designed to encourage creativity among nonprofits, which are addressing a community need or fueling a pilot project that benefits our county’s children and families. GII was first released in 2016 and, since then, has funded 116 initiatives with almost $3.5 million. GII was paused during the pandemic, which makes this year the 6th cycle of GII funding. 
The focus areas recommended for 2023 applicants are as follows:
   • Provide necessary tools and skills, enabling young people to successfully transition to adulthood.
   • Help normalize the importance of, need for and access to non-traditional, place-based, community-inspired mental, behavioral and emotional health.
   • Recognize/support fathers and father figures who aspire to become their children’s greatest advocates.
This year, the GII review process will include electronic application submission and inclusion of community members on the review team. 

VPK Update: Voluntary prekindergarten enrollment is up in Palm Beach County, thanks to a strong marketing campaign sponsored by Children’s Services Council and the Early Learning Coalition. The number of VPK applications between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 (a peak VPK enrollment period) surged to 5,111 – higher than pre-pandemic levels. Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) is a free program designed to prepare 4 year olds for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. VPK is available to all 4 year olds who reside in Florida, regardless of family income.

Things to Do: In its first year, the Things to Do feature on the Council’s EveryParent app grew in popularity and helped raise the community’s awareness of EveryParent’s expert content. The number of EveryParent accounts increased more than 34 percent since January 2022, and now is just under 18,000 accounts representing more than 25,000 children.
Some additional highlights:
   • More than 900 activities and events listed for families and children. 
   • More than 70 percent of listings were free activities. 
   • More than 55 percent of listings targeted children of all ages. 
   • More than 20 percent targeted children 5 to 12 years old. 
   • Nearly 5 percent targeted children 4 and younger. 
   • Events took place across the county, from Tequesta to Boca Raton to the Glades. 
   • A special “Things To Do” video highlighting Spring Break last month reached more than 117,000 views.
   • Facebook post featuring the video had more than 20,000 views and resulted in more than 2,300 clicks for more information. 

Mental Health Proclamation: The Council has proclaimed May as Mental Health and Trauma-Informed Care Month.

About Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County

The Council is a local, special-purpose government created by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014. For more than 30 years, it has provided leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.

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