The SAFE CHILDREN COALITION, INC. (SCC) serves as the Lead Agency for Community Based Care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. Safe Children Coalition is a collaboration between local community agencies who provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to blending available resources to support, advocate, grow and educate the children and families in our community. The core functions provided by the Safe Children Coalition include Child Welfare Case Management, Foster Care, Adoption, Independent Living, Prevention, Diversion, Quality Management, and support services.

The idea to re-engineer the child welfare system in Florida began simply enough with a question of "what would you do if you could?"...and the answer "to have the community manage the foster care system". This question and answer came from the hearts of two compassionate leaders in Florida — former Governor Jeb Bush and former Sarasota Family YMCA President & CEO Carl Weinrich. Through these exchanges in 1994, the concept of Community Based Care (CBC) was born.

Senator John McKay led the way to pass the first piece of legislation mandating that Sarasota County be a pilot for Community Based Care, with statewide implementation of local control to be realized by 2005.

In 1997 the YMCA became the lead agency of a coalition of 12 community agencies in the privatization of Child Welfare/Foster Care and related services in Sarasota County. The mission of the Foster Care program is to provide comprehensive services to children and families needing foster care or at risk of needing foster care through a collaborative effort that unites resources; holds all parties accountable to specific standards of care; evaluates performance and distribution of resources based on specific and measurable outcomes; holds permanency of the child's living arrangement and the continuity of relationships for the child as the primary goals; and provides these services through an inclusive and informative relationship with the community and state. The services provided include foster parent recruitment, training and licensure; adoptions; foster care; protective supervision; and voluntary family services.

An expansion into Manatee County for child-welfare services began in the fall of 1999. Similar to the Sarasota County project, the YMCA became the Lead Agency of a Safe Children Coalition of community agencies to assist Manatee County's abused and neglected children and their families in reaching their full potential in a safe and stable environment.

The project expanded again to include DeSoto County. In the fall of 2001, the Desoto County project was added as the third county under the leadership of the YMCA, initially serving 251 children.

Now known as the SAFE CHILDREN COALITION, INC. our organization continues to serve the Sarasota, Manatee, and Desoto counties. Serving our communities for over 21 years, the Safe Children Coalition is committed to providing services to meet the needs to the families and children.