Council Update: CSC, School District, County team up to help students avoid summer slide

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and The Palm Beach County School District teamed up to provide a laptop to students attending a County-sponsored summer camp. Children’s Services Council board member Alexandria Ayala, who also is a member of the Palm Beach County School Board, worked with the school district’s IT staff to ensure laptops were available for students to avoid the summer educational slide. Valerie Messineo, with the county’s Youth Services Department, worked with summer camps to facilitate the program. The Council and the county fund camp scholarships for eligible children to ensure they have a safe, fun, engaging place to spend their time during the summer. Last year, more than 3,600 children benefited from the scholarships. 

Because of this year’s agreement between CSC, the school district and the county, thousands of students now have access to laptops over the summer to continue their studies and avoid losing knowledge they gained during the school year. 

In other business

Special Needs Initiative: The Council approved an additional $25,000, for a total of up to $1.38 million, for the Special Needs Equipment Fund, which is administered by United Way of Palm Beach County. The Special Needs Equipment Fund allows for purchases of equipment for Palm Beach County children with special needs, ages birth to 17. The specialized equipment is necessary for safety, mobility, communication and/or vision. The fund is the payor of last resort. Between Oct. 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, the fund provided equipment to 32 children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and other rare genetic disorders. Those disbursements depleted the $100,000 fund by 93 percent, as demands for assistance increased while families’ finances remained stagnant and insurance companies made it more difficult to claim needed equipment.

Healthy Beginnings Nurses: The Council approved an additional $50,000, for a total of up to $3.9 million, for Healthy Beginning Nurses, a program administered by the state Department of Health. The Healthy Beginnings Nurses (HBN) program provides a wide range of services prenatally and postnatally as part of Children’s Services Council’s Healthy Beginnings System. Services are provided in the home and include Prenatal Plus; Nurses Supporting Families for Mothers and Infants, and Interconception Care and Education. 

DCF ACCESS: The Council approved an amendment to CSC’s contract with the state Department of Children & Families to fund three Economic Self-Sufficiency Specialists, who provide families with assistance when applying for state services. The agreement, for up to $270,000, runs from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2026.

Books for Young Children: The Council approved spending up to $750,000 over three years, subject to the Council’s budget approval process, to purchase and distribute books for young children who attend Palm Beach County child care sites, as part of the “A Book for EveryChild” campaign. For this fiscal year, through Sept. 30, 2023, the amount approved is up to $150,000 for 50,000 books.

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.

If you have questions related to Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County and/or media inquiries, please contact Shana Cooper, Public Information Officer.