Hurricane Irma took a disproportionate toll on Palm Beach County families served by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, many of whom already were struggling financially.
Some suffered damage to their homes; others had to replace spoiled food after the power went out; still others faced lost wages because employers closed before, during and after the storm.
In response, the Council authorized funded programs within its maternal-child services system (Healthy Beginnings), its neighborhood BRIDGES programs and the Relative Caregiver Program to use under-expended dollars to help families in need, staff shared Thursday at the monthly Council Meeting.
Families received diapers, formula and baby care items, as well as gift cards to purchase gas, food and other necessities for their children. In all, the Council provided more than $115,000 in direct assistance.
This is in addition to the $70,000 the Council granted to local nonprofit organizations hit hard by the storm. As part of a countywide disaster collaborative, the Council funded four disaster-related projects:
- $50,000 to the Palm Beach County Food Bank to replenish the warehouse with food, which was then shared with area food pantries
- $10,000 to the Urban League of Palm Beach County, for repairs to the roof and air conditioner units
- $5,500 to Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, to match funds to purchase software for an online intake module with Spanish and Haitian-Creole translation
- $4,500 to Center for Child Counseling, to provide trauma-informed therapy to children and parents
Together, seven area funders gave more than $700,000 to 60-plus local nonprofits affected by Hurricane Irma.
In other business
CPPA: In a year-end update of the Comprehensive Program Performance Assessment (CPPA), which ensures accountability, staff informed the Council of program standings on measurements such as program fidelity, data quality and outcome achievement. Sixty-one programs were reviewed, and all met their outcomes.
Healthy Beginnings: Staff provided an overview of updates to the Council’s Healthy Beginnings System, which includes a centralized intake that streamlines referrals to more than 20 different types of maternal-child health and wellness services. Those services include nurse-home visiting, group prenatal care, behavioral health, family support home visiting, child development, and navigation.
In Palm Beach County, pregnant women, newborns and children in child care settings enter the Healthy Beginnings System after taking a screen (or questionnaire) that determines whether they may be eligible for services.
Last year, more than 12,000 pregnant women, 13,000-plus infants and about 8,000 children were screened. Of those, about 4,800 pregnant women were deemed eligible for services, with 1,437 enrolling. About 2,700 infants were eligible, with 960 enrolling. And nearly 1,700 children were eligible, with about 920 enrolling. Of those enrolled in Healthy Beginnings services, nearly 47% are white and 42% are black.
In a recent survey of families served by a Healthy Beginnings provider, more than 90% said they:
- Found appointments helpful
- Were provided a caseworker who spoke their language
Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County – a special-purpose government established by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014 – provides leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county's children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. For more information, visit www.cscpbc.org or contact Shana Cooper, Public Information Officer, at 561.374.7570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.