Manatee County community invests wisely in children's services

June 21, 2013 

In Manatee County our children are well served by a group of community volunteers known as the Children's Services Advisory Board (CSAB). These citizen leaders give hundreds of hours of their time to review agencies, proposals and children's needs.

They have the unenviable task of dividing the resources Manatee County designates for our children and families in the most effective and efficient way possible.

We are especially grateful for Manatee County's taxpayers who had the wisdom and foresight to support urgently-needed services for the most vulnerable among us.

Providing children's care, education and prevention services is a good investment in the future; studies reveal that a reduction in crime is realized when children are supervised in their non-school hours, and future costs to taxpayers are reduced tenfold from delinquency, incarceration, drug and alcohol treatment, school drop-out, teenage pregnancies, and repeated cycles of families in crisis and on welfare.

But it's not just about saving money; it's also about saving lives. One young teen who shared her story of grief and truancy with the CSAB said that after personal trauma and oppressive bullying, she felt that she would rather go to heaven than go to school.

Thanks to funding through the CSAB, she was able to transfer to the Jane B. Pratt Alternative School Just for Girls where she felt safe, is thriving personally, and is succeeding academically.

Along with the CSAB, partner agencies who passed the rigorous review process, Manatee County's Children's Services Department staff, Board of County Commissioners and our citizens, we are making a significant difference and a wise investment in the lives of our local children and the future of our community.

Becky Canesse, Executive Director, Manatee County Girls Club, Inc. d/b/a/ Just for GirlsBradenton

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