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Theses and Dissertations

Name:Linda M. Lampinen
Children's Services Coordination Study.

Children's services in Hillsborough County have grown extensively over the past twenty years. This growth is responding in part to an increased demand for services and an increased awareness by the community of the risks affecting the physical and mental health of the younger generation. Children's services have become a national issue, to which several states and local governments have responded by instituting service coordination strategies to provide for more comprehensive services. The Children's Services Coordination Study was developed to: (l) present a picture of existing coordinating activities among agencies which provide services to children; and (2) develop recommendations for improved coordination which would facilitate a more effective collection and allocation of resources. My internship involved the collection and analysis of data on existing coordinating activities. The collected data were used to formulate recommendations for improving coordination in Hillsborough County. Significant changes have occurred over the past decade in the structure of the American family and in the communities in which they live. Many children are growing up healthy and strong but too many are not. Key indicators document that poverty, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, violence and neglect are increasing the number of children at risk in Florida today. Complex issues are facing children and families and effective policy development and funding are closely tied to the ability to know the true needs of the community. The present systems of support for children in Hillsborough County are a combination of public and private services and programs delivered by diverse groups. The design and delivery of services often reflect different, if not conflicting, orientations although, in many cases, they serve the same children. The results of the coordination study indicate the need for the development of a community wide comprehensive approach to children's services. A comprehensive plan would encompass the entire range of children's needs and assist agencies in meeting the growing demands for services.