Making Children A Priority
In Pinellas County, children are 16% of our population and 100% of our future. Yet, a number of conditions may hinder them from realizing their fullest potential. For 75 years, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) has been committed to making children a priority, advocating for their best interests and investing to improve their futures.
JWB is a high-performing, data-driven organization established by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature to strengthen the lives of children and families in Pinellas County. As a countywide independent special district, we responsibly direct our community’s investments to give children the best opportunities to lead meaningful and purposeful lives.
Governed by an 11-member Board of Directors, JWB’s annual impact budget of $87.3 million strengthened the lives of nearly 64,000 children and families through 85 quality programs with 50 nonprofit agencies in FY22. We also work collectively with partners to address complex issues facing our county’s children to include childhood hunger, grade-level reading, and preventable child deaths. Our investments and work are focused in six strategic result areas: Early Childhood Development, School Readiness, School Success, Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Strengthening Community, and Organizational Capacity.
We invest in partnerships, innovation, and advocacy to strengthen Pinellas County children and families.
All children in Pinellas County will have equitable opportunity to fulfill their potential and achieve meaningful and purposeful lives as a result of the efforts of JWB and its partners.
The Juvenile Welfare Board was created in 1945 by Pinellas County citizens who were the first in the nation to collectively say all children matter. At that time, few alternatives existed for troubled children other than adult jail. Three early champions – Juvenile Judge Lincoln C. Bogue, St. Petersburg Junior League Founder Mailande Holland Barton, and Attorney Leonard Cooperman – drafted legislation to create an independent, tax-supported board to guard the rights and needs of Pinellas County children. In 1945, the legislation was adopted and, on November 5, 1946, Pinellas County voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum to enact the Juvenile Welfare Board Special Act into law. This was the first time in U.S. history that a community created such an entity and that citizens had the courage and foresight to tax themselves to improve children’s futures.