The Whole Child Project was established in 2000 as a pilot in Manatee County through a partnership with The Lawton Chiles Foundation and the community. Thousands of volunteer hours were logged working in partnership with Electronic Training Solutions to develop a ground-breaking web based tool to link families directly to services, providing a virtual one-stop shop for resources, while also providing critical data around children and services. This work providing the backbone to the system is now known as the Whole Child Connection. Initial financial support from The Lawton Chiles Foundation has been replaced with funding from Manatee County through the Community Children Services Board as well as other community resources. With advisors and staff located throughout the county, including in the county headquarters, Whole Child Manatee focuses on the Whole Child Connection to refer families to providers, and to help build partnerships to strengthen services in the community. The Whole Child Manatee continues to focus on the six dimensions of child well-being with a special emphasis on infant& young children’s mental & physical health, early childhood screenings and economic self-sufficiency.
Whole Child Leon was launched in 2004 and has been successful in building strong partnerships across the community. Its focus has been on changing community attitudes about children’s well-being and ensuring greater cohesiveness among the work of the service providers whose programs target young children and their families. The Whole Child Leon Steering Committee is the governing board for Whole Child Leon. The Steering Committee has oversight authority for Whole Child Leon and strives to maintain a membership that is representative of the Leon County community and its interests. The staff consists of an Executive Director and a Community Outreach Coordinator who is responsible for management of the Whole Child Connection and Resource Guide. WCL is funded primarily by United Way of the Big Bend, with additional support from annual grants from the City of Tallahassee and Leon County. United Way provides additional staff support. Governance includes the Steering Committee chaired by Ed Feaver, Leadership Council of business and community leaders, as well as a Professional Network of advocates and providers.
Also launched in 2004, the Whole Child project in Martin County was piloted by the Children’s Services Council of Martin County (CSCMC) to improve access and increase utilization of services for children 0-18 years old and their families. Its focus has been on strengthening the community’s awareness of Whole Child and ensuring families get connected to services they may need. In doing so, the Whole Child Connection of Martin County formed its own 501(c) 3 organization and separated from its parent group, the CSCMC. The organization has continued to grow while creating a ‘No Wrong Door’ culture serving Martin County children and their families. WCC-Martin not only has 5 Advisors on staff, but has created partnerships with other social service agencies to adopt the WC Profile as a way to connect families to services throughout the service delivery system.
Jefferson, Madison, Taylor
The Whole Child project in the Tri-county area was launched in early 2008. The project has been championed by the Healthy Start Coalition, which serves the three counties, and is staffed by existing staff of the Coalition, whose role is to coordinate the meetings of the Leadership Councils and serve as technical assistance to the Six Dimension team, both in Madison and Jefferson Counties. One health educator for the Coalition also serves as the Whole Child Advisor, combining the task of promoting maternal and child health with the facilitation of profiles. Whole Child JMT launched the Whole Child Connection in early 2009.
Gadsden’s Whole Child project is championed by the local Early Head Start office and the Gadsden County Healthy Start Coalition with support from the Gadsden County Health Council. It is currently restructuring its leadership team and is working with Whole Child Leon to adapt its version of the Whole Child Connection to serve Whole Child Gadsden. This is the first step in becoming part of Whole Child Big Bend.
Brevard County became a Whole Child community under the leadership of Bob Seemer of Electronic Training Solutions (ETS) and a broad based community group. Brevard has developed the Whole Child Connection addressing the full age spectrum (0-18), and has identified key stakeholders to serve as Action Team leaders.
Hardee, Highlands and Polk
Hardee, Highlands and Polk County have come together to launch a regional Whole Child Project that is focusing its efforts on a marriage between the Whole Child Connection and 211.
Whole Child IRC was begun in 2010 with enthusiastic volunteer and financial support from the local Junior League. Their recently hired Whole Child Director is now focused on rallying the community around Whole Child and getting the Connection up and running.