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Children’s Services Council – A Critical Safety Net for Our Kids

How much is it worth to help and protect at-risk children? How important is it to ensure our kids have services essential to their health, education and well being? Broward voters will be asked those questions in November – with implications felt for years to come.

A referendum will ask county residents whether to reaffirm the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. The organization provides early learning and reading programs, after school programs, developmental health, preventive and other children’s support services. It keeps families together and their children out of foster care, delinquency programs and prison. The Council is funded by an annual homeowner tax assessment.

How much does this cost? By one calculation, it’s about $60 for a $125,000 home in Broward County, or about $60 million countywide, spent by various organizations dedicated to protecting our kids.

After a 1998 class action lawsuit and a grand jury investigation found that Broward’s child protection system was in crisis, in part because it was the poorest funded system in Florida, Broward voters created this safety net in 2000. As required by a 2010 state law, the Broward County Commission voted this week to place the referendum for reaffirmation.
The Council for almost 15 years has proven to be a vital part of the government’s efforts to serve our children. Now, it will be forced to justify its very existence. Yet, just as voters don’t “reauthorize” funding for schools or other county services, it’s important that the Council rise above politics to continue to provide equally vital services to our kids.

The CSC is an invaluable defense on behalf of our children. Its funding is money well spent and it receives wide support. We hope voters will agree in November.

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