Council Update: CSC reallocates funds to support COVID-19-related community needs

Children’s Services Council’s board this month reallocated funds for community needs exacerbated by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. The Council approved an additional $250,000 to help local nonprofits provide food, basic needs, direct services to children and families, and personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to organizations. So far, the Council has provided more than $650,000 in COVID-19 Relief & Recovery funds to local organizations. This additional funding, plus flexibility with existing contracts, has enabled CSC to direct more than $937,000 to help families during the pandemic.
In addition, the Council approved up to $150,000 of under-expended funds to be reallocated for internet connectivity in underserved communities. Internet access is a necessity for children to benefit from virtual summer camp and distance learning. Yet Census data indicates that about 10 percent of Palm Beach County households lack internet access, and a recent parent survey conducted by the Palm Beach County School District found that 15 to 35 percent of parents in our BRIDGES programs report no internet access. This lack of connectivity will leave some of our community’s most vulnerable children at a disadvantage as more cultural and educational content, and other local resources, move online.
The funding from CSC will help cover the cost of monthly data services fees for families who are members of our BRIDGES programs. 

In other business

Mental Health Services: The Council approved additional funding, not to exceed $80,000, to Center for Child Counseling to provide mental health services to families who participate in the Counseling for Parents and Young Children program. Since the program began in 2017, demand for services has steadily increased. The amended allocation increases CSC’s contract with Center for Child Counseling to $380,000 for this program. The Council also approved extending to Aug. 15, 2020, the Center for Child Counseling’s contract to provide mental health services to 120 students in elementary schools in BRIDGES catchment areas.

Racial and Ethnic Equity Update: CSC shared an anti-racism statement with the community via social media, email blasts and CSC’s website. Staff also completed the “Journey Toward Racial & Ethnic Equity” document to chronicle CSC’s successes and challenges in the area of racial equity during the past 30 years. Staff also are completing a Racial and Ethnic Equity Action Plan to outline next steps in the journey. 

SafeMap App Update: In an effort to keep Palm Beach County children safe, the SafeMap App helps connect families with swim lessons, car seat installation locations, helmet fitting sites and pill drop-off spots. The Communications Division updated the SafeMap App in June to include new locations and additional resources for families.

Summer Camp Update: Some summer camps that receive funding from CSC through the Summer Camp Scholarship Program began operating in June. The County’s Youth Services Department reported that in the first week of June, 15 camps were operating in-person, 37 camps were operating virtually and seven camps were using a hybrid model. While both families and camps continue to face an array of challenges, including lack of internet connectivity and fear of virus exposure, camps were thankful to receive PPE and were happy to see kids engaged in positive summer activities. Camps continue to come on board and adjust to families’ needs.

Summer Food Program: The County’s Youth Services Department has continued its summer food program, serving nearly 12,000 meals at 53 locations the week of June 7. 

Tentative Tax Rate: The Council tentatively approved maintaining CSC’s millage rate at .6497 for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. That means CSC will collect about 65 cents of every $1,000 of taxable property. Final decision on the 2020-2021 tax rate will be made in September, during the TRIM (Truth in Millage) public hearings. 

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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