In September 1997, a conversation between two women about a lack of services available for children in the north Brevard area led to an idea for a collaboration among children’s service providers. The concept they developed was to provide a one-stop location for children’s health needs, whether by direct service or through referral. Community leaders from the children’s services arena were invited in join in making the concept a reality. From that meeting a partnership emerged transforming the original idea into a dream model of community collaboration.
The collaboration became a driving force in defining a center for children. As the plan progressed, many changes were made to the make up of the center, yet the Partners remained committed to the mission, vision and guidelines they had formulated. Agencies began providing children’s services wherever they could even as they planned for the future. Each time the Partners met, problems in providing services to children were presented and creative solutions were developed furthering the concept of a one-stop center.
In October 1998, parents and providers were invited to provide their ideas on the services they believed were needed to help children in our community. Focus groups and surveys revealed that there was a lack of an information source for parents, resulting in delayed services for their children. We are grateful to the parents who participated in the focus groups and surveys because they helped to shape the dream concept even more. The Partners also sought information from other areas in Florida and the nation to determine space use; cutting edge therapy and high quality care for children.
From this process the Partners were able to formulate the concept into a substantial plan called The Children’s Center. They also developed an Interagency Agreement mutually tying them to each other in service to children. North Brevard Medical Support searched for an appropriate facility for the center finally deciding to build one instead, and Parrish Medical Center’s Board of Directors agreed to provide the land making the dream plan for The Children’s Center a reality.
In January 2000, land was cleared for The Children’s Center, and by August nine Partner agencies began providing services to the children of north Brevard County.
Today there are six agencies continuing to provide programs for families. Over 2,200 families are served each year.