Child literacy is not just about decoding words on a page; it’s a cornerstone of a child’s development and future success. Reading ignites the imagination, expands knowledge, and fosters critical thinking skills from a young age. Reading cultivates empathy and lays the foundation for communication skills.

young girls sitting on the floor reading books

80% of children living below the poverty threshold fail to develop reading proficiency by the end of the third grade.*

This can have a profound impact on the rest of their lives – their educational attainment, employment opportunities, and even overall health and well-being suffer.

By nurturing a love for reading in children, we not only provide them with essential life skills but also empower them to become lifelong learners. Through literacy-focused services and resources, parental education and support, and strategic partnerships, together we can shape brighter futures for our communities and Florida as a whole.

Preparing for Kindergarten Success and Beyond with BRIDGES

Did you know that 1 in 3 children start kindergarten without the needed language skills to learn to read?* The BRIDGES program, a partnership between CHS and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, connects families with support and resources to help them raise strong, healthy children who are ready to learn.

young child and parents sitting on floor with teacher reading books

Among these resources is a 6-week Summer Reading Program that provides families with strategies and information to support their children’s reading during the summer months. Due to its overwhelming popularity, BRIDGES has extended the reading program to be available year-round. The 4th Tuesday of each month, parents and children come together to access educational materials and receive support aimed at enhancing reading skills and fostering a love for books, ultimately ensuring all children start kindergarten ready to reach their full potential.

Learn more about how BRIDGES is preparing kids for success.

Transforming Literacy Across Florida

CHS is a proud regional partner with the New Worlds Reading Initiative, administered by the UF Lastinger Center for Learning, to increase literacy rates across Florida. New Worlds Reading addresses a critical gap in literacy support, aiming to empower students with the tools and resources they need to succeed academically and beyond.

As a regional partner, CHS is holding parent and family workshops that provide caregivers with valuable literacy resources and foster positive connections among families, schools, and communities. Together, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed through literacy.

Learn more about the initiative here.

woman at podium presenting to a group of children

Literacy Partnerships Help Students Thrive at Mort Elementary

At Mort Elementary, A UCF-Certified Community Partnership School in Tampa, only 8% of kindergartners began the 2022-2023 school year on or above reading level, but by the end of the year, that number rose to 48%. These amazing learning gains can be attributed in part to the collaboration with two organizations dedicated to advancing child literacy.

ReDefiners World Languages focuses on equipping individuals to become multilingual global citizens, recognizing the crucial role of oral language in literacy development. Their Academic Achievers program targets K-5th grade students struggling with literacy, providing personalized tutoring to strengthen reading, writing, and self-esteem. Currently, ReDefiners supports English language learners at Mort, addressing challenges in vocabulary, phonics, and phonemic awareness for over 50 students.

Child sitting at desk writing on worksheet

Additionally, Mort partners with the Help Us Grow (H.U.G.) Reading Program to drive positive outcomes through literacy intervention. H.U.G. is dedicated to ensuring all students achieve grade-level reading proficiency by third grade, with a focus on weekly progress and a 60% increase in national test scores.

Mort is immensely grateful for these partnerships and remains committed to ensuring every child receives the support they need to thrive academically.

Learn more about Community Partnership Schools here.

Spreading the Love of Reading with Learning Libraries

The Kiwanis Club of Lakeland and the Children’s Home Society of Florida are proud to partner in providing little free learning libraries across Lakeland. This initiative allows students to freely take and keep books, promoting literacy and spreading the joy of reading and learning. Reading has been linked to boosts in self-esteem and happiness, as well as increased educational and career success.** By providing access to books today, we’re shaping brighter futures and better communities for tomorrow.

group of students gathered around little library

Celebrating Our Social Workers

March is National Social Work Appreciation Month, a time to recognize our incredible social workers who go above and beyond every single day. They’re the heart and soul of what we do, breaking down barriers and making sure kids and families thrive.

CHS thrives because of Social Workers like Jania Fuller, LCSW, Community Partnership School Director at OCPS Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) in Orlando. Jania is passionate about the activities she helps bring to life within ACE and its surrounding community.

Recently, Jania had the chance to share our story with Spectrum News 13. She saw it as a great opportunity to spread the word about the amazing work happening at ACE and our Community Partnership Schools™ model across the state. Jania not only highlighted the impact we’re making but also inspired others to join us on this journey.

smiling woman pictured in a hallway
Watch the video here.

Craft Brighter Futures for Child Abuse Prevention Month

Join us this April for National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Unite Your Workplace in Support!

This April you’re invited to be an advocate for change. By creating and displaying a blue pinwheel – a symbol of hope and happy childhoods – you will raise awareness about the importance of protecting children from abuse and neglect.

To help spread the word, we are asking supporters to unite their workplaces to raise awareness. If you are interested in receiving a full-size CHS Child Abuse Prevention Month poster for your workplace, sign up here. The deadline to request a full-size poster is March 28, 2024.

You can also download a copy of the poster and pinwheel instructions at

Share your activities on social media and tag @HelpFLKids to highlight your engagement in this meaningful cause.

Together, we can create strong communities and safe, healthy homes for kids!

Planning your story... planning for peace of mind

Planning for Your Peace of Mind

Your goals, values and ambitions are all part of your life’s story – your Legacy of GOOD. If you have ever planned a vacation, you can plan your Legacy of GOOD. We have simple and easy tools to help.

When you don’t have a proper plan, your values and treasures might be lost under the sand. You would be relying on a judge you never met to sift through your life to determine what is best. However, when you plan, you can ensure:

  • You have provided for your loved ones
  • You have not paid too much in taxes, which allows more for family
  • Your values, accomplishments and goals, your Legacy of GOOD, continues

Having a plan is like a day at the beach. Everything is in order, and you can relax knowing your treasure is safe and protected

beach with mountain in the background
Here To Help You
If you would like to download your Free Planning Guide, click here or contact us and we will mail you a copy.

If you are interested in planning options that you and your family can benefit from, click here. If you have already created a Legacy of GOOD and included Children’s Home Society of Florida in your will or other plans, Thank You!

For more personalized service or ensure your gift helps children the way you want it to, please contact Casey at or (321) 558-4034.

Join Us at an Upcoming Event!

group of children in blue 5K fun run shirts

We have so many exciting events planned this spring, and we want to see YOU there! Your involvement directly contributes to counseling, early learning and school-based programs, child welfare and parental support services, and more, directly impacting the children and families in your community.

Together, we can create brighter futures for children and empower families to stay safe, strong, and together.

For more information on all the events below, visit our Events page.

2nd Annual Mixed Doubles Charity Pickleball Tournament 
March 23, 2024 ★ Kelly Recreational Complex, Lakeland

Inspire Gala Mardi Gras Masquerade
April 6, 2024 ★ The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg

For the Love of Children 5K and Fun Run
April 20, 2024 ★ Okeeheelee Park, West Palm Beach

FORE the Children Golf Tournament
April 26, 2024 ★ Celebration Golf Club, Celebration

Chefs’ Taste of Home
April 27, 2024 ★ Downtown Tallahassee

19th Annual Soundside Splendor
May 5, 2024 ★ Portofino Island Resort, Pensacola

An Evening of Taste
May 18, 2024 ★ Jacksonville Golf and Country Club