Making Children A Priority

In Pinellas County, children are 17% 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 special taxing district, we responsibly direct our community’s investments, from Pinellas County ad valorem property taxes, to give children the best opportunities to lead healthy, successful, and satisfying lives.

Governed by an 11-member Board of Directors and nationally accredited through the Council on Accreditation, JWB’s annual impact budget of $76.4 million strengthened the lives of 70,000 children and families through investments in 82 quality programs with 53 nonprofit agencies in FY19. 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 four strategic areas: School Readiness, School Success, the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and Strengthening Community.

  • Mission

    We invest in partnerships, innovation, and advocacy to strengthen Pinellas County children and families.

  • Vision

    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.

  • Values

    We value every child.
    We embrace collaboration.
    We are accountable and results-driven.
    We pursue innovation.
    We value equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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 – Lincoln C. Bogue, a juvenile judge, Mailande Holland Barton, founder and chair of the St. Petersburg Junior League, and Leonard Cooperman, an attorney – drafted legislation to create an independent, tax-supported board to guard the rights and needs of Pinellas County children. In 1945, the legislation passed 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.

70 Years Of Putting Children First

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