The Children’s Cabinet of Seminole County was born in the spirit of cooperation and community service that was fostered by the Children’s Services Committee, a group of community providers who met to network and share ideas starting in 2003. The group influenced the implementation of the Community Based Care (CBC) organization and completed a community needs assessment. Additionally, the Children’s Services Committee assisted in the establishment of The Village; transitional housing for youth aging out of foster care. The group fostered partnerships and cooperation that led to the establishment of the current cabinet in 2006.
Points of Pride
- We were the first local Children’s Cabinet (before the state), leading the way for other communities.
- Representatives attend our meetings from more than 100 organizations that cross disciplines and community sectors; and we have a mailing list of more than 300.
- Per the State Cabinet’s request, we created a toolkit for other communities to start local cabinets.
- We mentored the start of four additional local children’s cabinets and provided our toolkit to several others.
- We facilitate the Central Florida Region of Children’s Cabinets.
- We facilitate state initiatives on a local level.
- We provide local forums for the State Cabinet.
Previously, members of The Children’s Cabinet joined together to tackle the important issues of homelessness, teens aging out of foster care and protecting children from abuse and neglect. Those efforts resulted in Pathways to Home, The Village, and Family Connections.
Pathways to Home
Every morning, more than 2,000 children in Seminole County wake up without a place to call home. Pathways to Home, a community collaborative that began with support from The Children's Cabinet, is working hard to lower that daunting statistic.
Started in January, 2010, Pathways has assisted more than 150 families and 350 children. But there is much more to do.
During the 2009-10 school year, more than 1,300 homeless children were enrolled in Seminole County Public Schools. Moving those children and their families into homes will help stop 21 percent of the children from becoming homeless adults. Yet, there are no shelters in Seminole County where a family can stay together.
When foster children turn 18, they “age out” of the foster system. Yet many are not ready to be entirely on their own. As an answer, the Children’s Cabinet and its community partners created The Village, a comprehensive transitional living housing program for those young people who are leaving the foster system. The goal is to reduce homelessness by teaching young adults to be self-sufficient and independent by focusing on education, employment and life skills training.
Built from a collaboration of a variety of community partners, youth reside in two homes in Winter Park, provided by Seminole County. The Village is the only program of this type in Seminole County. The Village has provided safe and affordable housing for 103 youth since opening its doors in 2006. This program is vital in the prevention of homelessness for youth who aged out of foster care.
Of youth who reside at The Village for at least 6 months:
- 88% in 2011 and in 2012 60% achieved their high school diploma or GED
- 88% in 2011 and in 2012 75% gained employment either full or part time
- 78% in 2011 and in 2012 67% attended post-secondary, college or technical school
Family Connections is a collaborative program among Kid’s House of Seminole, Children’s Home Society of Florida, Human Services Associates and Community Based Care of Seminole. Its focus is to draw upon the family’s strengths, experiences, knowledge, and resources to help provide for the safety and well-being of the family. Family Connections accesses services available in the community and matches those services to the families when and where they need them.
More than 100 families served per year – 95% success rate in the prevention of children from abuse and neglect that leads to more intensive services.
July 2012-June 2011: 294 Children; 140 Families
July 2011-Dec 2011: 233 Children; 104 Families