A Collaborative Effort of the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County, Charlotte County Human Services, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care, United Way of Charlotte County, and the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida
Every 5 years, the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County conducts a Community Health Assessment which is then used to develop a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The Community Health Assessment includes a thorough review and analysis of relevant health indicator data to provide information on the overall health and well-being of our local community. To produce the 2020 Community Health Assessment, however, a group of partners came together and endeavored to compose a more robust analysis which considered economic, social, environmental, behavioral, and educational factors, which invariably impact individual and population level health outcomes. United by a singular vision, each partner agency provided a distinct perspective through which to analyze Charlotte County’s overall health and well-being status and helped create this report’s central narrative.
Through this robust process that involved input from professionals as well as community members, it was determined that the top five health and wellness issues affecting Charlotte County residents were:
- Child Abuse, Neglect & Well-being
- Behavioral, Social, Emotional Health & Trauma
United Way of Charlotte County Executive Director Angie Matthiessen presented data on the health and well-being of our children at one of the partner agency meetings. She explained that Charlotte County was ranked #3 in the state for child abuse for children ages 5-11. (Charlotte County has since gone up to #2.) She informed the group that this was twice the State rate, and a cause for concern. Matthiessen added that over 300 children were in the foster care (dependency) system in Charlotte County, with caregiver substance abuse being the top cause for a child's removal from the home.
In addition to these physical health concern, Matthiessen advocated for early childhood education as a top community priority, as education has long-term health and well-being consequences as well.
United Way of Charlotte County was saddened that the Community Health & Needs Assessment determined Child Abuse, Neglect & Well-being as the top health concern for the community. But UWCC is ready to lead the effort to mobilize the community to respond. The health and well-being of our most vulnerable residents is paramount to the future of Charlotte County, as our children ARE the future of Charlotte County.
To learn more about the work being done in the community to impact these staggering data points, and how YOU can help, please visit www.HealthyCharlotteCounty.org.