Leon County’s idea of forming Child Services Council meets early opposition


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – Funding for a newly proposed Children’s Services Council is meeting early opposition.

This is something that could be on your ballot in November and it involves your tax dollars.

During a meeting this week, Leon County Commissioners discussed creating the council.

The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce issued a statement saying,

“A Children’s Services Council may be a potential solution to long-standing problems, but before a new independent government body should be established, our community deserves a deliberate evaluation of the issues, opportunities, and objectives.”

If placed on the ballot and approved, Florida law grants each Children’s Services Council the power to distribute tax revenue to maintain services needed for the welfare of children in the county.

For Leon County, that revenue could be up to 8 million dollars.

Florida Tax Watch President Dominic Calabro says creating a council with that authority has both great opportunity and great risk.

“Like, what are we going to do with that money? That’s hard-earned money of people. We want to make sure that we really do something that’s not currently being done,” said Calabro. “We want to make sure that we tie all the organizations together, meet the gaps, so we need a really thorough need assessment in our community.”

The Florida Institute for Child Welfare maintains research on how effective these services are.

Director Jessica Pryce says the more commitment and collective responsibility devoted to child welfare, the better.

“Here in Leon County, in a given year, we have approximately 5,000 maltreatment abuse reports that are coming in, so it is becoming incredibly important that we are diverting these families from foster care, and whether the prevention is primary or tertiary,” said Pryce. “We’re trying to bring them to a state of wellness and wholeness, so they are not coming back into our system.”

Tuesday’s commission meeting included a request for public hearing in April, which is also Child Abuse Prevention Month.