$10,000 in Grants Awarded For Planning Resource Center

Posted on Mar 15, 2012

Healthy Start of Southwest Florida was awarded a $7500 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County’s competitive grant program, to complete a feasibility study and develop a business plan for a new infant & toddler resource center. An additional $2500 was received  from the MacLennan Fund of the Community Foundation.  Healthy Start will be partnering with the Institute of Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University to complete the business plan.

Healthy Start of Southwest Florida is proposing to develop an infant & toddler resource center in the Naples area zip code 34113 (or 34114) Naples Manor area. The target population would be families with young children up through pre-school.

The resource center will follow the Family Support and Resource Center model in the Tampa area. It has shown great outcomes and successful community collaboration with family driven services. According to the Hillsborough County center, “Family Support and Resource Centers are warm and welcoming places right in your neighborhood where any family is welcome.  All programs and services are at no cost to participants.  Child care is available for parents participating in the center’s activities.” “The philosophy of family support is part of a national movement which seeks to strengthen and empower families and communities so they can foster the best possible development of children, youth and adults. Broad community partnerships are at the heart of service and program delivery with an emphasis on child development, self- sufficiency, and health and safety”.

“The infant and toddler resource center will be a place where multiple programs and agencies can provide services for families.  These collaborative partnerships are what make this model so successful.  We envision the center to be a ‘one stop shop’ for parents with young children”, says Cathy Timuta, Healthy Start’s Executive Director.

The need for the infant and toddler resource center was identified by Healthy Start almost two years ago.  Due to lack of funding, not all families that needed Healthy Start services were able to receive help, and there was no place to refer these families.  Healthy Start began researching potential solutions that had proven outcomes, and they found the family resource center models in Vermont, New Hampshire, and then closer to home in the Tampa area.

Some of the great outcomes from the Hillsborough County centers include:

  1. 96% of adults who received educational services increased their knowledge about car seats, first aid, or CPR.
  2. 99% of children had access to immunizations and well child care based on their caregiver’s knowledge of preventive health care.
  3. 60% of children were developmentally on track or were linked with additional developmental services.
  4. 81% of caregivers demonstrated increased understanding of child development.
  5. 99% of children were developmentally on track or were linked with additional developmental services.
  6. 83% of participants improved their skill development in self sufficiency services as indicated by the G.A.S. tool.
  7. 93% of participants reported positive attitudes about the support and connections they received from participation.

The feasibility study will be completed in April and the business plan is scheduled to be completed by July 2012.