Voters approve Children’s Services Council

The Children’s Services Council had a strong advocacy group. Photo by Diamond Robinson

One of the big local winners in last week’s election was the Children’s Services Council.   With surprisingly strong support, the citizens of Leon County have given the green light to create a governmental entity.

Our Kids First is an organization that was started a couple of years ago to advocate for the foundation of the county’s Children’s Services Council. Our Kid’s First raised money to run television ads, deliver mailers and promote a campaign.

“A lot of people in the community contributed to the cause. We’re thrilled that so many stepped up, provided financial contributions, volunteered, advocated for it and lent out their good name to the effort. We were grateful to have people working really hard to achieve this victory,” said Kids First president Jon Moyle.  

The CSC identified three areas of focus: success in school and life, healthy children and families, as well as stable and nurturing families and communities. 

Projects that will be funded by the CSC will be determined based on the essential needs of individuals at that time. 

“It makes me very happy to know that our hard work has paid off. I was born here in Tallahassee so I know how much this community and the kids can grow from having support like this,” said Kids First staff member Steve Beasley.

A diverse group of 10 citizens will be leading the CSC. At least four elected officials will serve on the Children’s Services Council: the superintendent of Leon County Schools, a county commissioner, a school board member and a circuit judge who handles first-hand dependency and delinquency cases involving children. 

Circuit Judge, John Sjostrom chaired a group that produced a 116-page report identifying several matters they recommended the council target.

“One of the examples I can offer is to ensure that kids who enter kindergarten are prepared to learn. Right now, about half of the kids entering kindergarten aren’t ready to learn and that just isn’t a good way to start an education. Education is so important and this group recognizes that we can do better with early childhood education,” Moyle said.

One of the most valuable elements of a CSC is its transparency and accountability. Quarterly financial reports will be implemented including an annual report that lists all expenses, program data and outcomes.

“I’m so excited to see what the Children’s Services Council has in store for Leon County. No child should be left behind due to their circumstances. The more resources these kids have accessible, the better they can excel in the future,” Tallahassee resident Kimberly Ward said.