Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 7/8/2013
Be safe around the pool this summer!

So far this year, the Florida Abuse Hotline has received 40 reports of children drowning. The state loses more children under the age of five to drowning than any other state in the nation. It's summer, a time when it is especially important to emphasize supervision and swim safety while spending time with friends and family around the pool.

To combat this horrible statistic and other dangers, the Florida Department of Children and Families is launching a summer series of weekly public service announcement (PSA) videos online to promote prevention of tragedies like drowning. For the first PSAs, DCF has partnered with the Florida Department of Health to produce two short videos:

There are many layers of protection that can prevent drowning deaths:

Supervision: Someone should always be actively watching children when they are in the pool. This means don’t play around on your phone or get involved in a big conversation while watching the kids. Drowning can happen in just a few minutes. Designate a “Water Watcher” to keep an eye on swimmers.

Barriers: A child should never be able to enter the pool area unaccompanied by an adult. Barriers physically block a child from the pool. Barriers include: child-proof locks on all doors, a pool fence with self-latching and self-closing gates, as well as door and pool alarms. Pool covers may also be used but make sure it is a professional cover fitted for your pool. A simple canvas covering can be a drowning hazard and entrap a child in the water. Florida law requires barriers for home pools.

Swimming Lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 4 and older learn to swim in order to help prevent drowning. It also encourages caregivers of children ages 1-3 to consider swim instruction for their child, as studies have shown it reduces drowning incidents. Caregivers should learn to swim as well.

Emergency Preparedness: The moment a child stops breathing there is a small, precious window of time in which resuscitation may occur, but only if someone knows what to do. Even if you're not a parent, it’s important to learn CPR. The techniques are easy to learn and can mean the difference between life and death. In an emergency, it is critical to have a phone nearby and immediately call 911.

Posted: 7/3/2013
Get info, application for Florida KidCare program at Lowry Park Zoo July 21st
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More than 2 million children in Florida are enrolled in the Florida KidCare Program, but it’s estimated that 35,000 qualifying children in the Tampa Bay area remain uninsured. To help remedy that, the Kids Healthcare Foundation provides information and application assistance to families who believe they are eligible.

Melanie Hall, the executive director of Tampa Bay Kids Healthcare Foundation said as part of their back-to-school drive, Tampa Bay Kids is attempting to reach out to children and families who qualify for affordable insurance.

“We actually assist families in providing them with information about the Florida KidCare programs that they may be eligible for. If after they are enrolled in Florida Healthy Kids or one of the KidCare programs they are having difficulty accessing services they can call us. So we are here to support families in getting their children the care they are eligible for through the Florida KidCare program.”

Medicaid for children and Healthy Kids are two programs available under Florida’s KidCare. Florida’s Medicaid for children program offers free health care for children whose families are at or slightly above the poverty level, while Healthy Kids provides very inexpensive insurance to families making up to $47,000 a year. Hall said these programs allow low-income families access to needed medical services.

“The benefits packages are very comparable to the commercial benefits. So, dental is included, vision, primary care, hospitalization, emergency care, therapy, it’s all covered. Even behavioral health is covered through the Healthy Kids benefits packages.”

The Tampa Bay Kids Healthcare foundation will be giving out information and applications at Lowry Park Zoo on July 21st, which is a reduced admissions day.

Visit your favorite animals at the Zoo and learn about endangered wildlife for just $6 admission per person. Free extra parking is available on $6 day only next to the Tampa Greyhound Track. Free shuttles will run continuously from that lot to the Zoo between 9 a.m.-6 p.m. From I-275, take Exit 49 to Bird Street and go one block East. Park in indicated areas. Please note: due to this special discount, Zoo rides are not included with admission on $6 Day.

Information provided by WMNF 88.5 FM radio.

Posted: 7/2/2013
Read the June 2013 eNewsletter from your Children's Board
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In this issue:

  • Welcome Our New Executive Director Kelley Parris
  • Farewell Message from Interim CEO Pam Iorio
  • Children's Board Radio
  • Our Mission
  • Save the Date: "THINK eARTh" Art Exhibit

Read the eNewsletter

Posted: 7/2/2013
Help Wanted! Community Interviewers For Door-To-Door Surveys

The Hillsborough County government, Hillsborough County Community Action Board, and Florida Survey Research Center at the University of Florida are working to conduct a survey of residents who currently receive or who are eligible to receive social services from the County. They are looking for interviewers to conduct door-to-door surveys in Hillsborough County neighborhoods. Successful candidates will be University of Florida employees for this project, which is funded by a federal Community Services Block Grant.

Job Requirements: At least 18 years old; high school diploma or equivalent; strong reading skills; ability to speak clearly and distinctly; reliable transportation; able to start immediately. Bi-lingual ability and/or previous survey experience is a plus. There will be a background check for all applicants.

Pay Starts at $8 per completed survey. Paid training is also provided.

To Apply: Interested candidates must come to the Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center on Thursday, July 11 for an interview with the University of Florida anytime between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., and should bring completed application materials with them. All applicants must bring government ID (or school ID with photo, or voter registration card) and a copy of their signed social security card to the interview.

Job Applications Available for Pickup from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. - Fri. (closed July 4) at the following locations:

  • Homeless Recovery Program Office, 2410 Tampa St. in Tampa
  • Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center, 3402 N. 22nd St. in Tampa
  • Plant City Neighborhood Service Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave. in Plant City
  • SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE in Ruskin
  • University Community Resource Center, 13605 N. 22nd St. in Tampa
  • West Tampa Neighborhood Service Center, 2103 N. Rome Ave. in Tampa

For More Information, call Janet Heffner at the University of Florida at 352-392-5957 or toll free, at 1-800-392-3475. The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Posted: 7/1/2013
Department of Children and Families offers new online child care training courses

From the Department of Children and Families (DCF):

Dear child care providers,

We are proud to announce the launch of two new online training courses, available on July 1st. The courses, Quality in Child Care Settings (3 credit hours) and Challenging Behaviors (5 credit hours), can be found on our website under Course Registration. These courses may be used towards your annual in-service training.

Don’t forget to share your summer classroom ideas through our “Little Hands, Big Plans” Pinterest project. Items you pin will be re-pinned to the DCF “Ideas for Child Care Providers” Pinterest board as a way to share ideas with providers statewide. There are already almost 300 project ideas on the board!

DCF Child Care Program Office

Posted: 6/28/2013
Deadline August 20th for Planning & Design Awards
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Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission's 31st Annual Planning & Design Awards

The Planning Commission is proud to announce its 31st annual celebration of great planning in Hillsborough County. After going strong as the Community Design Awards for 30 years, the program's name has been updated to:

Planning & Design Awards

With the emphasis on the importance of great planning in our own region, The Planning Commission has moved its awards program to October to align with the many national festivities during the American Planning Association's (APA) National Community Planning Month and celebration of Great Places in America!

This awards program is a well-respected tradition honoring the very best in planning and design in Hillsborough County. Winning projects contribute to a better quality of life and serve as models to learn from and emulate in planning and design.

Entries are now being solicited for the 2013 awards. Complete submission package with entry fees must be delivered by 5:00 p.m. on August 20th to:

The Planning Commission, 18th floor, 601 E Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33602

The $160 entry fee should be made payable to:

Board of County Commissioners

The $160 entry fee may be waived for student designed projects and for projects designed and executed entirely with volunteer resources. All entries become property of the Planning Commission. Photos and drawings submitted may be used by the Planning Commission in materials including websites, publications, presentations, and educational programs. No entry materials will be returned.

Winners will be announced on October 17th at the 31st Annual Planning & Design Awards Program, at Maestro's at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. There will be a cash bar reception at 6:15 pm, followed by dinner and award presentations. Tickets are $50 and go on sale beginning in September. Community sponsorships are welcome.

More information


Awards Committee,The Planning Commission,
phone:(813) 272-5940.

Posted: 6/27/2013
Parenting classes offered

Dates: July 10, 17, 24 **You must attend all sessions**
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Hillsborough County Extension Office
Cost: $20.00 no refunds

All parents should have the opportunity to take a parenting class. Let’s face it - parenting can be a tough job! However, there are parenting skills that can make parenting so much easier.

Some parents are required by the court system to take a parenting class. Our parenting classes are court approved and will provide you with an approved parenting certificate.

Occasionally, parents might feel they are caught in a parenting style that is not working. We know parents love their children and want to do the best for them. However, sometimes what seems to be the best in the short run is not the best in the long run. The effects of our parenting styles are often not apparent for many years.

Many effective parenting techniques are not difficult but they are also not intuitive. The way a person parents is mostly based on how they were raised by their own parents, who were taught to raise children by their parents . . . and so on . . . Isn’t it time we expected more?

Other parents in the exact same situation as you are will be there and you will be able to learn from other experiences. Nobody will judge you there, because they are all parents and they are all going through what you are. Everyone knows how tough it can be!

The parenting choices you make will last a lifetime so learn to make the best ones you can! To register for an upcoming parenting class, please click on the link below.

Schedule of Classes:
Week 1
— A Balanced Parenting Style
— Enhance Your Child’s Self Esteem

Week 2
— Effective Discipline Techniques
— Helping Your Child Succeed in School

Week 3
— Family Communication Skills
— Managing Your Stress

Persons with disabiities requiring special accomodations, please contact Diana Converse at 744-5519 ext. 54140 at least five working days prior to the program so proper consideration may be given to your request.

Register here

Posted: 6/25/2013
Water Outage Scheduled Wednesday Night For Homes In Meadow Brook Community

Hillsborough County water customers along several roads in the Meadow Brook community near Montague Street and Waters Avenue will be without water service for a few hours on Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 11 p.m. The service interruption is necessary so contractors can move a 12-inch water line.

Residents on these specific streets will be impacted:

  • Heyward Road, Charleston Corner Road, Bella Way, Huger Way and Pringle Way.
  • Tiara Park Way, Poydras Lane, Cara Park Way, and Brook Way Circle.
  • Manassas Road, Fredericksburg Road and Meeting Way.
  • Hamlet Lane, Sea Island Way, and Charleston Lake Drive.
  • And the Charleston Place townhome community on Charlesberg Drive and Cooperville Place.
The service interruption will last approximately six hours, until 5 a.m. on Thursday. Once service is restored, customers are advised to boil their water as a precautionary measure until a rescission notice is issued, which will take at least 48 hours.

The Hillsborough County Health Department requires a precautionary boil water notice after pressure in the lines drops below a certain level. Although it is unlikely there will be any contamination in the system, the notice means customers are advised, as a precautionary measure, to boil tap water for cooking and drinking. A rolling boil for one minute is sufficient. Allow the water to run until it is clear before washing clothes. Residents should also discard any ice from automatic ice-makers.

Customers can call the Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department at 813-554-5010 for more information.

Posted: 6/17/2013
Library History Roadshow To Gather Thonotosassa Branch Library History On June 22

What: Traveling event to gather and digitally preserve the history of local libraries
When: Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Thonotosassa Branch Library, 10715 Main St. in Thonotosassa


On Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., the Library History Roadshow will feature the Thonotosassa Branch Library at 10715 Main St. in Thonotosassa. Library patrons are encouraged to bring their Thonotosassa Branch Library memories, photographs and memorabilia to share.

The 8,000 square foot Thonotosassa Branch Library opened on July 22, 1989. It is located on two acres of rural land in the northeastern part of Hillsborough County with funding provided by a federal Community Development Block Grant.

Staff and volunteers work onsite at each Library History Roadshow to digitally scan photos and other printed items that residents bring, and immediately return the originals to their owners. Attendees delight in recording video and audio stories that share their historical knowledge of and experiences at the libraries.

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries will begin celebrating their 100th Anniversaries in 2014. To prepare, the libraries have partnered with the Tampa Bay History Center, the Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, and other community partners to present the Library History Roadshow. The Library History Roadshow will make stops at library branches throughout Hillsborough County through 2013 to gather and document the communities’ library memories, photographs and memorabilia. On this journey, the Library History Roadshow will feature four libraries that closed many years ago and each of the libraries in Hillsborough County, including the main library; 24 branch libraries; the Bookmobile; the Spanish-language Cybermobile; the Talking Book Library; and two city-operated libraries.

The Library History Roadshow has already made stops to collect memories and historic treasures from the West Tampa Branch Library (April 16 and June 4, 2011); the Tampa Free Public Library, aka the Carnegie Library on 7th Avenue (Sept. 24, 2011); the Hyde Park Branch Library (Nov. 19, 2011); the Port Tampa City Library (Jan. 14, 2012); the Charles J. Fendig Public Library (March 25, 2012); the Temple Terrace Public Library (April 13, 2012); the Ruskin Branch Library (April 15, 2012); the Seminole Heights Branch Library (May 6, 2012); the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library (June 23, 2012); the Lutz Branch Library (July 28, 2012); the Brandon Regional Public Library (Sept. 15, 2012); the Town ‘N Country Regional Public Library (Dec. 1, 2012); the John F. Germany Public Library (Jan. 13, 2013); the Harlem Branch Library (Feb. 23, 2013); and the Austin Davis Public Library (May 18, 2013).

For more information about the Library History Roadshow, and to see photos and videos of library memories and treasures, visit the link below. Or, contact the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System at 813-273-3652 for details.

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library History Roadshow Blog

Posted: 6/11/2013
Summer Food Service Program For Families Who Meet Financial Guidelines

Hillsborough County is participating in the Summer Food Service Program, going on June 12 through August 9, to provide FREE nutritious lunches and afternoon snacks to children at more than 40 sites throughout Hillsborough County. These sites are in geographical areas of where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free or reduced price meals during the school year.

Too often, many children are left searching for unhealthy foods to eat when their parents are working or not in the home. When there is not enough food to go around, their nutritional needs are not met and their choices are not always the best.

The purpose of the Summer Food Program is to provide a balanced meal regardless of race, color, sex, disability, age national origin or income during summer vacation when school breakfasts and lunches are not available.

Applications or eligibility are not required. Summer camp or summer school registration is NOT a requirement. Summer Food Program sites are located at schools and other locations in the community to provide meals to all children in the surrounding area, in addition to those enrolled in summer school. Any child age 18 and under can visit a participating site to eat a free lunch and/or afternoon snack.

The Summer Food Service Program for Children is federally funded and operated by the Hillsborough County Family and Aging Services Department. In accordance with Federal law, and US Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

If any site is interested in serving as a host site, call (813) 272-5160.

The summer food location sites can be found under the 2013 Summer Food Program Locations link on the right-hand side of the Social Service’s webpage:

For more information, contact Summer Food Program for Children, at (813) 272-5160.

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