Council Update: CSC, partners engage with community to develop Youth Master Plan 2.0

More than 400 local youth and adults engaged in Community Conversations, hosted by Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, to update the Alliance’s Youth Master Plan, staff from Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County shared with board members at a recent meeting.

The original plan, launched in 2015, created action teams and workgroups to address six major areas of need. As Birth to 22 approaches its 10th year, organizers agreed it was time to reconnect with the community to evaluate next steps. In doing so, the alliance – led by Children’s Services Council and the county’s Youth Services Department – held true to its mantra, nothing about us, without us. With that in mind, the alliance held 11 Community Conversations in spring 2023, which included 222 youth and 180 adults. To kick off the discussions, the alliance shared data about topics the community had prioritized, including mental health, economics, and education for youth transitioning to adulthood. That information sparked participants to brainstorm about specific needs, goals, and gaps in services, and to make solution-focused recommendations.

Next, Birth to 22 facilitated two Community Conversations with community-based organizations that provide direct services to youth and families. The group addressed priority areas impacting youth, such as: stigma, inclusive language, internships, identifying trusted adults, building relationships, financial literacy, mentorships and bringing services to youth. Next, the alliance will compile all the information gathered over the last few months, identify needs and aspiration and, after revisiting specific groups to ensure accuracy, produce a final Master Plan by the end of February 2024.

In other business

Under-expenditures: Staff reported that repurposed under-expenditures in the previous fiscal year, which had been approved earlier by the board, went to the following programs/services: 

  • More than $1.1 million for summer camp scholarships, in addition to the $2.6 million already approved. This funding allowed 3,695 children to attend summer camp in 2023.
  • $514,439 to fund 13 local, grassroots nonprofits through the Great Ideas Initiative.

EveryParent Accounts: Staff reported that CSC’s EveryParent website and mobile apps surpassed 20,000 accounts in November. The original five-year goal for EveryParent when launched in August 2017 had been 13,500 accounts by 2023. The platforms reached that milestone in August 2021, about 18 months ahead of schedule. Staff anticipate the account numbers to continue to increase after redesigning the apps in 2024. The website had been refreshed in 2023 to make it more user friendly. 

Familias Latinas Virtual Town Hall: The Facebook group launched by CSC to reach Spanish-speaking families held its second Facebook Town Hall in mid-November. Experts from 211 and HomeSafe talked with two local Spanish-speaking moms about developmental screenings for young children. The experts also answered questions live online and provided resources to families. The one-hour event had almost 4,700 views and nearly 400 engagements (comments, likes or shares). 

Great-Level Reading Campaign: The national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in November included six CSC projects in its Communications Expo. The campaign cited the creativity and energy shown during the year in social media posts and engagement activities. The reviewers chose four CSC projects as exceptional: VPK videos that helped grow enrollment; refresh of the EveryParentPBC website; weekly “Things to Do” feature; and Familias Latinas Facebook group. The reviews chose two CSC projects as bright spots: Pregnancy and Baby guides, and the Community Art Project in Belle Glade. 

Market Study: The board approved CSC to contract with CRL Media for a market study of Haitian-American and Creole-speaking families so the organization can develop a deeper relationship and better engagement with the community. The board had approved a similar study a few years ago of Spanish-speaking families, which led to the creation of the thriving Familias Latinas Facebook group. The amount for this study is not to exceed $66,000.

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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