Since 2000, The Lawton Chiles Foundation has been working to unite entire communities around the goal of providing for the needs of children. The Whole Child Project, initially in three pilot counties, laid the foundation for the creation of Whole Child Florida. The mission of Whole Child Florida is to build a stronger foundation for all our children by continuing and replicating our focus at the community level.
Governor Chiles understood that successful nurturing and development of all children required a dramatically new approach, a new philosophy; a philosophy that:
• Starts early before conception, focusing on 0-5;
• Provides continuous support to parents;
• Recognizes the family as having primary responsibility for the child;
• Is holistic, considering the physical, economic, social, cultural and spiritual environment in which the child lives;
• Creates a no wrong door culture whereby service providers are committed to building collaborative service delivery networks;
• Builds a partnership across all sectors of our society whose activities impinge on the lives of children
Building on Governor Chiles’ legacy, The Lawton Chiles Foundation partnered with Manatee County and Electronic Training Solutions (ETS) to create the vision for the Whole Child Project. The Whole Child Project has had positive results and outcomes in three pilot counties including Manatee, Martin and Leon. Whole Child Florida has taken this vision, philosophy and strategic framework across Florida to engage our statewide community around common goals related to children. To date, Whole Child Florida has additional programs in Brevard County; Gadsden County; Hardee, Highlands & Polk counties (regional); Indian River County, and Jefferson, Madison & Taylor Counties (Tri-County).
The State of Florida has developed a 5 year plan to help prevent child abuse. The CAPP Plans’ Vision: Florida’s highest priority is that children are raised in healthy, safe, stable, and nurturing families. The Plan’s Mission: To serve as a blueprint that will be implemented to provide for the care, safety, and protection of all of Florida’s children in an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. The Plan’s overarching Goal: All families and communities ensure that children are safe and nurtured and live in stable environments that promote well-being.
Whole Child Florida has been chosen as one of the six (6) strategies to accomplish the above the CAPP Plan’s Mission and Goals. Whole child Florida is honored to be the only strategy chosen that is outside of a Florida state agency. Our goal is to replicate Whole Child in as many Judicial Circuits as possible by 2015, creating more “connected” communities that are more successful in preventing child abuse.