In the midst of an ever-changing child welfare environment, one constant has remained steadfast for more than a century: Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Before there was community-based care, before the Department of Children and Families; even before laws surrounding compulsory education and child labor, Children’s Home Society of Florida was there.

In fact, Children’s Home Society of Florida was instrumental in creating all of the above.

Led by a commitment to do good – in all ways – Children’s Home Society of Florida has consistently focused on the safety and well-being of children, on the stability of families, and on the success of those we serve, both in the Southwest Florida Region and throughout the state.

This month, Children’s Home Society of Florida celebrates 117 years of creating safe, strong families.

While our roots are in adoption, CHS has evolved to become a recognized leader in the state – and, oftentimes, the nation – with its cutting-edge solutions and innovative services that not only change the way we serve kids, but also to transform their life trajectories.

When research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that children experience better outcomes when they can remain with their families – compared to those who were removed from their homes due to similar risk factors – CHS set out to change the way children are served.

Not only did CHS start focusing even more on providing in-home services to help empower families to succeed, we also went into the hearts of communities, reaching kids and their parents where they already gather.

In 2012, CHS worked collaboratively with our partners at the University of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools to develop a revolutionary approach to help more children grow up in safe, strong families. By bringing services and solutions together in one place – neighborhood schools – the Community Partnership Schools model addresses everything from food insecurity to untreated mental health issues, parenting education, mentoring and more.

Again, CHS experienced such success with this model that it has been replicated more than a dozen times, including at Mort Elementary. Through a partnership among CHS, the Hillsborough County School Board, !p: Potential Unleashed, Tampa Family Health Centers, the University Area Community Development Center and the University of South Florida, we’re empowering students to succeed the classroom – and beyond the school’s walls.

With significant support from Advent Health – Tampa, Bay Hope Church and Publix, the Community Partnership School is impacting lives – likely for generations.

Known for implementing solutions that make a difference, CHS is again leading the way with its commitment to end the need for foster care as we know it. With the delivery of innovative services that keep more families safe, strong and together, CHS is tackling the challenges facing children and families before they turn into crises that could interfere with child safety.

No other organization in this state has the size, scope or depth of services to dramatically change the future for children.

The child welfare system will continue to change – and CHS will continue to lead the way.