Council Update: Youngest children at greatest risk for abuse, neglect

More than 4 out of every 1,000 Palm Beach County children were victims of abuse or neglect last year. Of those, nearly 47 percent were under age 5 and more than 72 percent were under age 10. With this in mind, the board of Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month at its most recent meeting. 

Racial disparities are notable in the data. While Black children make up almost 29 percent of Palm Beach County’s population of children under 5, they represent more than 45 percent of victims of verified abuse. Meanwhile, parental substance abuse remains one of the main reasons children are removed from their homes. And more than 4 percent of verified abuse cases were recorded as substance-exposed newborns.

In response, Palm Beach County is implementing the Plan of Safe Care initiative to combat substance misuse, and ensure infants who are prenatally exposed – and their families - receive the services needed to advance recovery and resilience.

In other business

Under Expenditures: The Council approved re-purposing any under expenditures for the following items: Up to $1.5 million for the Great Ideas Initiative; Up to $500,000 for summer camp scholarships; authorizing the CEO to enter into any contract amendments with Friends of Community Services to meet additional demand for summer camp scholarships, as needed. 

Community Driven Innovations: CSC released a Request for Proposal in January for programs to support and enhance services driven by community needs, goals and preferences in a more effective, equitable and sustainable way. The RFP was targeted to organizations with operating budgets of $1 million or less. Staff worked with external partners and community members to create a process that would be inviting to organizations that may not have much experience applying for CSC funding. At the conclusion of the RFP, 21 organization submitted a proposal, some of which are previous Great Ideas Initiative recipients and some from organizations that are new to CSC. 

COVID-19 Update: Using funding from CSC’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery funding, CSC is providing $49,500 to the Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) to build the capacity of frontline caregivers as it relates to trauma. Through CFCC’s Education and Prevention Services, a variety of activities, including teacher and caregiver training, address the impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and traumatic stress for children and adolescents. This project includes building the capacity of frontline caregivers – teachers, child care staff, foster parents, relative caregivers and others – who are working or living with vulnerable children in Palm Beach County.

Student Grant-Making: In Phase 2 of the Glades Student Grant-Making process, high school students involved in improving their community released a Request for Proposals that asked: “How does education, lack of jobs and poverty lead to violence in the Glades community?”  Proposers were required to commit to host a roundtable conversation with community change makers and create a “Roadmap to a Violence Free Glades Community.” A total of four applications were submitted. After application reviews and interviews, the students selected two local organizations, and CSC staff approved $27,500 to Balanced Living Mentorship, Inc., which the students believed has the capability to assemble the community and center the project around the voices of those most affected by community violence – community members of all ages. The students also awarded $7,500 to The NAPOLIS Group/Beazieboy Productions to document the process and capture the project implementation through videography and photography.  

ReThink Health: ReThink Health’s Portfolio Design for Healthier Regions team is working with stewards in Palm Beach County and a three-county region in southeast Michigan to explore what it will take to reallocate resources to create more equitable regional systems for health and well-being. The focus is on rethinking how to invest and coordinate resources to shift from urgent services (the kind anyone under adversity would need to temporarily regain or restore their health and well-being) to vital conditions (efforts that not only have the potential to improve health and well-being but also prevent harm and avert the need for urgent services).  CSC is part of this initiative working with various other funding partners.  

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.