Initiatives

Professional Network (PN)

Local human service providers come together as the Whole Child Leon Professional Network to serve as a voice to identify community needs and service gaps, discuss best practices, develop strategies for collaboration and promote the Whole Child philosophy in the human service community.


Professional Network meetings are held monthly on the fourth Monday of every month except December. Call 850-692-3134 or email us at info@wholechildleon.org to be added to the Professional Network invitation list.

The Whole Child Connection

As a human service provider, families can link directly to you through the Whole Child Connection in one convenient step. Our “no wrong door” approach makes it easier for families to gain access to your services and resources.

To become a part of the Whole Child Connection, providers agree to:

  • Attend Whole Child Connection training
  • Keep organization and program information up-to-date in the Whole Child Connection database
  • Maintain client confidentiality

 

Benefits of being a Whole Child Connection provider include:

  • Whole Child helps promote your resource to the community and to those who can benefit from your services
  • You get a stronger voice in identifying community needs and service gaps through participation in the Professional Network of providers
  • You are a part of the service community that has made the commitment to work together, rather than in competition, to help children thrive

Pediatric Behavioral Health Navigator Program

The Tallahassee Pediatric Behavioral Health Center (Center) is a strategic initiative by Whole Child Leon in partnership with the Tallahassee Pediatric Foundation (TPF). The Center was created to improve access to quality behavioral health services for children and their families through integrated health practices. The Center’s flagship program is the Behavioral Health Navigator Program.

Finding the right mental and behavioral health assistance for a child can be difficult, overwhelming and time-consuming. Our Pediatric Behavioral Health Navigators (BHNs) are trained clinicians who work directly with community providers and partners to ensure quality behavioral health services are available and accessible when families need them. The BHN services are free of change and available to children, 0-21 years, who have a primary care medical home in Leon County.

The BHNs use a child-centered approach to assist families in developing a tailored and comprehensive treatment plan, addressing the needs of the whole child and the whole family. To ensure success, BHNs work with families to address any barriers that limit access to quality care. In addition, BHNs regularly communicate with the child’s referring primary care physician so services and care are fully integrated between the Center and the doctor’s office.

If you’ve been referred to the Center for Behavioral Health Navigation, here is what to expect:

  • Our team will call you within five days of receiving the referral and schedule your appointment to meet with a BHN, at no cost. We utilize a confidential ‘intake’ process to help identify what services may be the best fit for your child’s needs.
  • The BHN will then connect your family to quality behavioral health services and provide additional support recommendations based in your unique needs, insurance and family preference.
  • The BHN will remain in contact with your family and the identified health care providers to ensure the ‘match’ was successful or to reevaluate as necessary.

The BHN will also keep your doctor informed.

If you think you could benefit from Behavioral Health Navigation, here’s what to do:

We currently do not accept self-referrals. Ask your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician for a referral to the Tallahassee Pediatric Behavioral Health Center. If you do not currently have a primary care physician, please call (850) 692-3134.

Status of Young Children in Leon County

Since the inception of Whole Child Leon in 2004, research has exploded demonstrating the importance of the first five years of life (including the 9 months in utero) to the development of the child’s ability to reach his or her full potential. These critical years are when the child’s brain is building the connections (wiring) required for interacting positively with others, curiosity, reading, problem solving and creativity. The research has demonstrated that optimum development is directly related to a healthy birth outcome, a safe and nurturing environment, economic security, quality early childhood learning experiences, and access to quality physical and mental health care.

While most children in Leon County have a positive early childhood experience, a review of the local data demonstrates that far too many do not. The rates of infant mortality, low birth weight babies, childhood abuse and neglect, childhood obesity and children not ready for kindergarten are unacceptably high. These negative rates are particularly high for children who are black and living in low-income census tracts.

One of the services that Whole Child Leon provides is a biennial community report on the status of young children in Leon county. Our most recent report not only identifies the areas of need for our community but also provides examples of local success where Whole Child Leon has convened the right partners to fill gaps in our service system by providing needed services to our most vulnerable children.

The most recent report was published in May 2021. WCL is working on publishing a report in 2024.

Access to the three most recent reports are available to view below/to the right. Access to our master data file (updated June 2019) is available by clicking here.

If you are interested in viewing this data and require it in a different format for accessibility purposes, please let us know by calling 850-692-3134.

Community Summit on Children

The Summit is a community driven event created to increase public/private business awareness, engagement and investments in early childhood programs that will drive better outcomes for our children and families, and ultimately the future of Leon County.

Since the Summit’s inception, approximately 4,750 community professionals, including: social workers, law enforcement, attorneys, judges, mental health professionals, members of the pediatric medical community, university academia, school personnel, childcare providers, child advocates, and faith leaders, have participated in Summit-related events, learning from national and regional experts in the field of childhood success.

The theme for the 9th annual summit, held in November 2023 explored “The Power of Prevention”. Speakers addressed evidence-based strategies that have affected demonstrable results, and discussed opportunities to scale those impacts.

Our Keynote was provided by Dr. Dipesh Navasaria, a pediatrician and professor at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Navasaria is the current chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Early Childhood, and he is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know details about the 2024 event!

Whole Child Leon Back to School Event

This event gathers community partners together to provide everything students need for a successful start to the school year. Previous events have featured dozens of booths and exhibits offering free school supplies, along with dental screenings, hair cuts & hair braiding and other resources to help students prepare for the start of school. Community partners, including the Sheriff’s Office and Walmart, contribute to making this event a needed hub for over 2,000 school-age children and their families.

Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup

The workgroup meets monthly to strategize how to increase the number, and duration of women breastfeeding in our community. Pediatricians, nurses, lactation specialists and community advocates serve on this work group and meet monthly.

Whole Child is not another program, but a philosophy that uses strategic planning, performance measurement and broad-based community engagement to build communities where everyone works together to make sure children thrive.