Featured Non-Profit: Manatee Children's Services

Manatee Children’s Services is a child advocacy center with the mission “to advocate for and provide the resources, skills, and shelter to alleviate abuse through prevention and intervention for all children and their families.” The agency was founded in 1977 by Carol Chamberlain, a passionate social worker who saw the need firsthand for a shelter to house our community’s most vulnerable population: abused and neglected children removed from their homes and placed into foster care.

Carol turned the dream of Manatee County’s first emergency shelter into a reality and continued to create a culture within MCS of putting abuse victims first. They expanded to a full spectrum of victim-centered programs at one center where families receive care from start to finish. The agency is the only child advocacy center in Manatee County and continues to operate the community’s sole emergency home for abused children. All programs share a 91% or higher success rate in breaking the cycle of abuse through immediate and long-term shelter, mental health services, exams and interviews designed to detect abuse, and programs for youth and caregivers to prevent first-time or repeat victimization.

Krista Post, development coordinator of Manatee Children’s Services, stated, “The Lakewood Ranch Community Foundation has shown generous support for the children and families we serve through several essential grant awards. In 2021, the foundation supported education sessions led by our staff to raise awareness in Lakewood Ranch communities on how to recognize, prevent, and report child abuse. In 2022, the Lakewood Ranch Community Foundation awarded a grant for a transporter for bringing foster children in our residential program to their originating Lakewood Ranch schools, avoiding the need to enroll in a new school during an already traumatic time in their lives. Additionally, the foundation granted a Hurricane Ian relief fund to our “Grandparents as Parents” program to support food relief for low-income kinship caregivers residing in Lakewood Ranch and East Manatee County. These grant awards have helped our agency significantly with providing the best possible care to our most vulnerable populations.”

Krista continued, “Please make a difference for our victims seeking lifesaving care by supporting the ‘Welcome to Our House’ initiative. Through this project, we will transform our main headquarters to accommodate our neighboring Child Protection Team building, the first stop for children when abuse is reported. This crucial stage allows our team to conduct medical exams and interviews for determining and acting upon the next steps for safety, including shelter, therapy, and ongoing support. This project will allow us to renovate our headquarters with warmth and comfort at the forefront, move CPT into our house, and allow all agency programs to serve these vulnerable children under one roof. By doing so, we will alleviate stress for families and enhance the quality of care. We have currently raised $100,000 of our $500,000 goal, and we need compassionate people like you to join us in our mission for providing the best possible care to our community’s victims.”