The State of Special Needs & Disability in Palm Beach County (December 1, 2015)
Boca Raton, FL – December 1, 2015 – Unicorn Children’s Foundation will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on The State of Special Needs and Disability in Palm Beach County on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach. At this time, we will release the results of our year-long analysis of focus groups, interviews, conversations, and surveys, as well as a business model to transform the current system of care for our most vulnerable citizens. More than 100 representatives of the community, including County and State legislators, are expected to attend. This critical report includes the voices of individuals with special needs, parents/caregivers of special needs individuals, and service providers and will unveil the current landscape of supports and services, as well as a 5 year plan to create a more coordinated and comprehensive continuum of care, engagement, and inclusion for individuals with special needs and/or disability. In January 2015, a group of funders, under the leadership of Unicorn Children’s Foundation, allocated financial resources to commission a $200,000 comprehensive assessment on available services, barriers to accessing services, and existing gaps in available services and supports to ensure that individuals with special needs and disability can be meaningfully included and engaged within the larger community. These funding partners include: Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners, Palm Beach County Youth Services Department, Quantum Foundation, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council, Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, Autism After 21, Els for Autism, Autism Project of Palm Beach County, and United Way of Palm Beach County. During this time, over 190 participants representing more than 100 private, public and civic organizations, as well as parents and individuals challenged by special needs, have come together monthly to discuss experiences, concerns, ideas, and potential solutions. A Community Needs Assessment of this nature was conducted in Broward County approximately 10 years ago and was the impetus for creating a comprehensive and coordinated system of care and a best practice service delivery strategy for children with special needs. With a thorough understanding of the landscape of special needs service, we can collectively reframe the system that keeps individuals with special needs and disabilities isolated, unfulfilled and unproductive and create a model community that will be emulated and replicated. In addition, this quantitative and qualitative data will allow the community to make informed and strategic decisions on allocation of funding. Those unable to be present and are interested in receiving a copy of this report, please contact Executive Director of Unicorn Children’s Foundation, Sharon Alexander, M.H.Sc., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
### Unicorn Children's Foundation is a non-profit organization providing education, awareness and funding opportunities to organizations for special needs children in an effort to help these exceptional individuals excel in the community. For millions of special needs children with developmental, communication and learning challenges, finding a cure is like chasing a rainbow in that a cure remains elusive. The Unicorn Children’s Foundation is expanding the collective special needs community to help acknowledge, celebrate and integrate the special qualities possessed by neurodiverse children with Autism, ADHD, Bipolar, Asperger’s, Dyslexia and other learning disorders.