A Children's Services Council (CSC) is a countywide special-purpose government, created by ordinance – and approved by local voters – to fund programs and services that improve the lives of children and their families.
Florida remains the only state in the nation with laws that allow local county leaders and the residents of those counties to create a special government entity that's sole purpose is to invest in the well-being of children and families.
To date, nine Florida counties have created CSCs that invest property tax dollars in the well-being of their community’s children and families. While the services offered and age groups served vary depending on each community’s needs, the primary focus of all CSCs is to invest in prevention and early intervention programs that produce measurable results.
Local decisions for local programs
The Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County was established in 1990 after the Juvenile Welfare Services Act was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor in 1986 (Florida Statutes 125.901). This enabling legislation provided that any county in Florida, whose voters agreed through referendum, could create a special taxing district for children’s services with a governing board and the authority to levy ad valorem taxes.
St. Lucie County Ordinance No. 90-41 provides for the creation of an Independent Special District to provide funding for children's services throughout St. Lucie County. This special district, by ordinance, was approved and on October 2, 1990, and named the Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County.
As mandated by Florida Statute and County Ordinance, the Council is made up of ten members. Five of these members are ex officio (meaning "from the office") and serve by virtue of office or position and five of these members are appointed by the governor.
Ex Officio Members:
- County Commissioner
- District Administrator (or designee) of Department of Children and Families
- Juvenile Judge
- School Board Member
- Superintendent of Schools
Governor Appointed Members:
- Appointed by the sitting Governor
- Serve a four-year term
Taxing Authority is provided for by statute and ordinance and allows the levy of up to .50 mills in property taxes. The ten-member Council has decision making authority over the programs to be funded, setting millage rates, and approving the budget. The cost to a local property owner to pay .50 mills would be 50 cents for every $1,000 of taxable property.