ST. LUCIE WEST — It’s hard to get excited about words like “eligibility” and “candidacy.” They are bits of jargon from the world of child welfare.
But it’s important to talk about them because they translate into things that matter: Things like stability for vulnerable children and better, more successful programs that help people.
As of this month, Communities Connected for Kids (CCKids) has met the statewide goal of licensing 40% of children placed with relatives and non-relatives. That’s called candidacy, a push to license non-foster-parent caregivers in order to draw down federal funds. This is essential in Florida and throughout the nation because of new federal laws that significantly impact the way states pay for child and family services.
Candidacy translates into a couple of very important things.
First, it means that more relatives can receive the types of services that have been available to licensed foster parents for years - services that build emotional and financial support and create greater stability for children.
And second, it means that CCKids is now eligible for more federal funding.
In fact, nearly 80% of all CCKids cases now are eligible for federal dollars, freeing up limited state funds and creating opportunities for more and better services in our community - and ranking CCKids among the top performers in the state.
This is especially important this year when the impact of COVID-19 will make tax-generated state funds less available.
It’s one more example of how the Community Based Care model is working in Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast and how the people behind that model are working hard to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of local children and families.
To learn more about CCKids, call Christina Kaiser at 772-528-0362. To read about other successes in our community of care, view the 2020 Annual Report.