For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -
A local program that works to help improve the lives of area families has earned national recognition.
St. Lucie County's Strengthening Families partnership, which is supported by the Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County and includes Hibiscus Children's Center, CASTLE, New Horizons of the Treasure Coast, Catholic Charities and Family Preservation Services, was recently ranked as the top Strengthening Families program in the country by the SFP national organization in Utah.
The gold medal award is based on the program showing marked improvement in the areas of family change, parenting change and child outcomes.
The Strengthening Families partnership works to give moms and dads better parenting skills, children social skills and the family better overall communication and coping skills.
To make sure the families who participate in the program are grasping the concepts, they are linked with a behavior analyst who provides in-home support.
Research has shown that providing this wrap-around service to families is more effective than providing any one component alone.
Over 14 weeks, the families increase resilience, strengthen bonds with their children and learn more effective parenting skills. In addition, the families are offered childcare for younger siblings and dinner on the evening of their weekly class. All of this is free to the parent.
"At the Children's Services Council, we are proud of highly successful programs like Strengthening Families," said Sean Boyle, executive director of Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County.
"Over the years, evidence-based programs like theirs are found to significantly reduce child maltreatment, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children."
Over the past seven years, St. Lucie County's Strengthening Families partnership has served more than 3,400 family members and has earned national recognition as a previous silver medal contender. This is the first year the program has been ranked top in the nation with a gold medal distinction.
The Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County is an independent district established by voter referendum to fund children's programs to improve the lives of children and families in the community. Programs funded by the Children's Services Council include: Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Avenue D Boys Choir, Hibiscus Children's Center and CASTLE.
The Children's Services Council partners with a total of more than 50 programs to provide support to newborns and their parents, quality childcare, afterschool activities, and resources to strengthen and empower families, reaching more than 30,000 children annually.
For more information, visit www.cscslc.org or call (772) 408-1100.