10th Annual JWB Children’s Summit Highlighted the Power of Connections

Mar 22, 2024

The Juvenile Welfare Board has been part of the fabric of the Pinellas County community for more than 75 years, investing in partnerships, innovation, and advocacy to strengthen the lives of children and families in our county.

On March 7th, 2024, JWB’s Board and Executive Leadership team convened the 10th annual Children’s Summit to gather 200 of Pinellas County’s key influencers, community leaders, and child advocates with local and national experts in the field of children’s mental health.

As a data-driven and evidence-based organization, JWB knows that, from our earliest days, human relationships matter. As children develop and grow, social connections are formed – and because people are social creatures, belonging is a fundamental need. Children who feel connected to their families, schools, neighborhoods, and other meaningful groups develop a sense of belonging, which is associated with mental and physical health benefits. We also know screen time and social media usage among children and teens is increasing. Like many activities, gaming, social media, and screen time come with benefits and risks.

We invited a local and a national expert – Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Dr. Whitney Raglin Bignall of the On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health, presented by health care partner BayCare Kids – to share with community leaders how belonging boosts kids’ mental health and how screen time and social media can affect it. Their presentations increased attendees’ knowledge with the latest research and compelling data and shared practical tools that youth and families can access to foster healthy conversations and connections.

The Children’s Summit also marked the debut of JWB’s FY23 Annual Report Video, a reflection on JWB’s work and impact last year, where the word “connections” takes many forms.

  • EARLY CONNECTIONS…because learning and mental health begin at birth. JWB increased our investments in the zero-to-three space with new programming and a campaign focused on nurturing early connections and healthy development for babies.
  • We continued our work to ensure HEALTHY CONNECTIONS for children – and we heard at the Summit just how important belonging and human connections are for kids.
  • We invested $17.1M in new funding to give children the best opportunities to learn, thrive, and succeed. These STRATEGIC CONNECTIONS included new, innovative programs to address unmet needs and funding to stabilize the workforce of our programs.
  • For JWB, 2023 was a year for CREATIVE CONNECTIONS, where we shared our data, expertise, and best practices with others for an even greater impact for children.

Watch our annual report video, featuring the work and impact of JWB and our partners during fiscal year 2023.

View an online album of the event.

JWB exists to meet the most pressing and immediate needs of Pinellas County children. We ensure they are ready to learn, succeed, and thrive in homes, schools, and neighborhoods that are healthy and safe. To learn more, visit www.jwbpinellas.org.