Council Update: More than 1,000 families to receive internet access for distance learning
In June, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County’s board approved funding Comcast Internet Essentials sponsorships for families who need help accessing the internet so their children can participate in distance learning when school begins the end of August. Since that time, CSC and BRIDGES staff have identified about 1,000 families in our BRIDGES communities who need help paying for internet access.
Families newly enrolled in Comcast Internet Essentials will receive two months free and CSC’s sponsorship will pick up the costs after that. That will provide families 14 months of internet service. For families already enrolled in Comcast Internet Essentials who are unable to sustain payment, CSC’s sponsorship will provide them with 12 months of service at no cost.
Additionally, BRIDGES staff in the Glades identified about 40 families who will be connected to the School District-issued hotspots. This is a continuing discussion as schools determine how best to move forward and families’ needs evolve.
In other business
Child Care Update: At its April meeting, CSC’s Council authorized continued payments to child care programs through the Early Learning Coalition, following state guidance (with the exception of school-district and municipality operated afterschool programs) through June 30, 2020. By doing so, CSC has helped support the vital early care and education system in Palm Beach County at a time when many child care providers had closed their doors because of COVID-19 (although some had continued providing some services virtually).
Many child care providers began re-opening in June, with about 16 percent remaining closed. Effective July 1 through Aug. 31, 2020, CSC’s Council approved continued payments to child care programs and continued provision of local match for Head Start programs. This will help sustain our community’s child care infrastructure so quality care will be available as children return to school and families return to work outside the home.
COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Funds: To date, CSC has provided more than $740,000 specifically in COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Funds to 50-plus organizations using the common application process coordinated by a group of local funders. The Relief and Recovery Fund is a collaboration of 10 local funders, pooling resources to meet the needs of our community during this crisis. CSC’s funding has focused on helping families with food and essential supplies, counseling and expansion of services. Local nonprofits have received a range of funding amounts, from $2,500 to $50,000. In total, CSC has provided more than $1 million in COVID-related funds to local providers to help children and families during the pandemic.
Pacesetter Honors: Children’s Services Council received “Pacesetter” honors from the national Grade-Level Reading Campaign for its 2019 work in supporting children’s literacy. Highlighted in the Pacesetter recognition are CSC’s establishment of the Strong Minds Network to increase the quality of early childhood care and education, support for the Palm Beach County Birth to 22 Alliance, development of the EveryParentPBC.com website and EveryParent apps, and strategic use of videos and data.
Racial and Ethnic Equity Action Plan: The council reviewed CSC’s Racial and Ethnic Equity Action Plan, developed in collaboration with staff. The plan communicates CSC’s intent and actions to keep its focus on working to eliminate race and ethnicity as factors that predict outcomes for children and families in our community. Final review, and formal adoption, of the plan will be considered in September.
TRIM Hearings: CSC will hold annual, public Truth in Millage (TRIM) hearings Sept. 10 at 5:01 p.m. and Sept. 24 at 5:01 p.m. For more information about these meetings, please click here.
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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