Create a CSC

Starting a Children’s Service Council
Creating a Children’s Service Council does not happen overnight. A county interested in creating a CSC should first document local needs and build community support. When seeking to create a new Children’s Services Council, it is essential to demonstrate that the investment of taxpayer dollars will yield measurable returns. Those returns come in the shape of improving the lives of children and their families, as well as improving the community as a whole. Early investments in children also translate into greater savings down the road. Crime rates decline. It reduces the need for costlier, state-funded programs and services. More children have access to healthcare.

Communities that want to establish an independent Children’s Services Council must first gain support from the county commissioners to pass a local ordinance. Then the county commission must agree to place the issue on the local ballot for voter approval. For a dependent Children’s Services Council, the community must convince its county commissioners to create one, which they can then do by local ordinance. The formula for success depends on the needs and desire of the community.

Consider the Initial Steps:

  • Conduct a needs assessment documenting specific issues and trends affecting children in your local area
  • Identify champions outside of the typical children and family advocacy circles. Consider reaching out to local business, workforce, health and education leaders
  • Determine the level of support among county commissioners
  • Determine if similar initiatives have been successful (or not) in your county Why or why not?
  • Gauge public support and awareness

We are available to answer questions for communities interested in creating a local Children’s Services Council.

The Legacy

The legacy of the dedicated funding source for children in Florida counties began in 1945 in Pinellas County following World War II. That was when local attorney Leonard Cooperman decided it was time to give troubled youth a better option than going to jail.

Cooperman drafted legislation to establish an independent body of citizens and community leaders that would have as its sole interest the welfare of children in Pinellas County. That same year, the Florida Legislature passed a local bill allowing Pinellas County to establish a special district for children called a “juvenile welfare board,” and levy an ad valorem tax, subject to voter approval.

Approved in 1946—by an 80-20 margin— the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County became the state’s first Children’s Services Council. Nearly 40 years later, citizens in Palm Beach County sought to establish a special district for children in their county. The rest, they say, is history.