Evaluate the needs of the community and propose initiatives to benefit Alachua County's families and children, prenatal to age five, to ensure their health, safety, well-being, and preparedness for future success in school and life. The Board will also advise the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) regarding the creation of a dependent or independent Children's Services Council.
About the Children's Services Advisory Board
The BoCC established the Children's Services Advisory Board to:
- make a recommendation regarding the creation of a Children's Services Council as a dependent special district, or holding a referendum on the creation of an independent special district;
- recommend innovative programs for families with children from prenatal to age five
- identify the needs of young children and their families and how to meet those needs in a unified and comprehensive manner
- make recommendations to the BoCC regarding funding for programs serving families with young children
- work with other agencies to end overlapping services
The Advisory Board began meeting on August 10, 2016 and after reviewing a comprehensive needs assessment, identified three (3) priority projects:
- the newboRN, Nurse home visiting program began operations in late March 2018. This initiative offers every woman delivering a baby that was delivered and will reside in Alachua County, the opportunity for a nurse home visit within about one week of delivery. This is to assure the health, safety, and well-being of both the mother and infant. Home visits are completed by either a Registered Nurse or a Certified Mid-wife.
- the CHILD Center has been awarded $439,000.00 in funding to serve as a pilot work site to help develop transformative learning practices for the professionals working in the field of early learning and care. Working in close partnership with the UF Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, staff at the CHILD Center will develop new and transformative teaching practices. The Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County will help transfer the new practices developed at the CHILD Center throughout other centers in Alachua County to assure early childhood development staff use the most effective classroom teaching methods possible.
- Soon Alachua County will be seeking applications from interested organizations to implement a model initiative to develop a system of early childhood mental health consultation and trauma responsive training for caregivers and families to promote healthy social and emotional development for children prenatal to age five and their families. The initiative will provide consultation benefitting children and families receiving early care and education from licensed center-based and home-based programs in Alachua County and also benefitting the staff of those early care and education providers.
The Advisory Board's overarching goal is to ensure every Alachua County child is ready for kindergarten.