Council Update: Palm Beach County honored with prestigious Culture of Health Prize
Palm Beach County is one of 10 winners chosen this year for the national, prestigious RWJF Culture of Health Prize. The prize, awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, honors communities for their work advancing health, opportunity and equity.
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Palm Health Foundation and Palm Beach County Youth Services Department collaborated on the application. The honor comes with a $25,000 prize, which local funders will match. The county will engage residents in deciding how best to spend the money.
Palm Beach County is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Palm Beach County’s award-winning efforts recognized for building a culture of health include:
• Expanding equitable access to behavioral health. Greater reach and equity is being attained through countywide initiatives like BeWellPBC bringing together residents, providers and systems around solutions, and hyper-local efforts such as residents of “The Set,” Delray Beach’s historic Black community, creating partnerships with the faith community to overcome mental health stigma while respecting culture in the Haitian community.
• Focusing on youth and being accountable for their success. Through Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, Palm Beach County is promoting trauma-informed care, honoring youth resident voices in its collaborative work, and encouraging a new generation of advocates to shape an even brighter future for the community.
• Elevating resident leadership. Maximizing the power of residents to make a direct impact on their own communities is creating change through grassroots organizations like the EJS Project in Delray Beach, which is dedicated to empowering youth. Another example is Lake Worth Beach’s Wall of Unity, a resident-led transformation of a wall that once represented segregation to a new symbol of people of all races and cultures coming together to break down barriers of hate and injustice.
In other business
Council Workshop on Early Childhood Care and Racial Equity: The Council heard from staff about how CSC is beginning to re-imagine early childhood care to: include the voice of residents and community in governing/decision-making; advance racial equity by getting to the root cause of issues; address statewide quality improvement supports, which are similar to our locally development system.
Prematurity Awareness Month: The Council declared November as Prematurity Awareness Month, even as the percent of premature births dropped in Palm Beach County by one percentage point from 2019 to 2020. In Florida, the percent of premature births (babies born before 37 weeks gestation) decreased among all racial and ethnic groups except Black non-Hispanic women.
On average, the medical cost to care for a premature baby is about $49,000 – more than 10 times higher than that of a full-term, healthy baby. Babies born too early and too small are at risk for life-long health complications that can impact a child’s growth, development, social-emotional health and academic success. This is why CSC continues to fund services that focus on helping families have healthy babies. Those programs include: Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Prenatal Plus, Nurses Supporting Families, Nurse-Family Partnership, WHIN Nurses (Women’s Health Initiative), CenteringPregnancy and Community Voice.
DCF Access Agreement: The Council approved extending CSC’s agreement with the state Department of Children & Families to contract for three Economic Self Sufficiency Specialists to be co-located within CSC’s Healthy Beginnings Entry Agencies (Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Palm Beach County and HomeSafe), as well as at the Guatemalan-Maya Center. These positions work with staff to help simplify the process for families applying for Medicaid and other DCF programs. Total cost for the additional contract year, July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, is not to exceed $90,000.
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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