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The Whole Child Project was designed by The Lawton Chiles Foundation to be community-wide effort to serve young children and their families. Initial Whole Child communities established  in Florida included the counties of Leon, Manatee, Martin, Indian River, Madison, Jefferson, and Taylor.  Each program, also by design, has since been absorbed into their community.

A Whole Child Project begins with a commitment from all segments of the community that are involved in supporting children; community leaders unite as Action Teams to build and maintain a community where everyone works together to make sure children thrive.

There is growing recognition that investment in early childhood, beginning with prenatal care and focusing on ages 0-5, is critical to the health and well being of every community. Similarly, there is increased realization that single strategy programs are not effective—that we need a holistic approach to nurturing infants and young children that engages parents and incorporates all dimensions of the Whole Child. Whole Child communities have discovered that there is broad-based support among business, political, and other community leaders for the Whole Child philosophy and the need to design and fund integrated models for providing services to children and their parents.

What is Whole Child?

Our Goals:

  • Community Ownership and Participation in Early Childhood Success

  • Children are Healthy at Age 1

  • Children are Making Appropriate Progress

  • Children Enter Kindergarten Ready to Succeed

6 Dimensions of children’s well-being:

  • Physical and Mental Health

  • Quality Early Education and Development

  • Social-Emotional Development

  • Spiritual Foundation and Strength

  • Safe and Nurturing Environment

  • Economic Stability

“A Whole Child Community” believes:

  • All children should have the opportunity to grow to be healthy, contributing members of society

  • Parents have primary responsibility for raising their children

  • The community is a partner with parents in this endeavor

  • The community must pay attention to all dimensions of a child’s and its parents’ well-being

“A Whole Child” is one who:


  • Attains physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being

  • Experiences strong, positive family attachment

  • Interacts constructively in a social context

  • Has a sense of hope

  • Lives in an environment that encourages him/her to succeed




Whole Child Leon is a community-based initiative of the Lawton Chiles Foundation established in 2004 by Florida House Representative Loranne Ausley and the United Way of the Big Bend. Whole Child Leon (WCL) addresses critical community issues affecting young children and is a catalyst to create partnerships that solve these problems. WCL works to bring together public, private, and nonprofit partners to form the solid foundation and collaboration needed to create systemic change that improves the overall well-being of children in the Big Bend region.



Manatee County was the first county to receive a grant from the Lawton Chiles Foundation in 2001 to begin strategic planning under the guidance of Ed Feaver, former Director of the Department of Children and Families. Two years of planning gave the community a system that focuses on providing its families with young children the resources they need to improve their child’s well-being.  Whole Child Advisors who have been with Whole Child since its inception continue to provide guidance and support to Manatee County families.



As of July 2015, Whole Child Connection in Martin County is now a part of Treasure Coast Food Bank’s program operations.  Piloted in 2004 by the Children’s Services Council of Martin County (CSCMC), the purpose continues to be improving access and increasing utilization of services for children 0-18 years old and their families. Its focus has been on expanding access to program resources by creating partnerships with other local non-profits to serve as outreach locations in every community of Martin County as well as extending their office hours to include evenings and weekends.  WCC- Martin has 4 advisors on staff and continues to train other social service agencies to use the Whole Child profile to connect families to services and maintain the “No Wrong Door” culture of the community.



The Healthy Start Coalition of Jefferson, Madison and Taylor Counties uses the planning framework created by the Whole Child Project of the Lawton Chiles Foundation to assure that its execution of maternal and child health planning activities is as comprehensive as possible. Using the six dimensions of the Whole Child, the Coalition carefully navigates the community through issues within each dimension that impact the system of care for its most vulnerable citizens, pregnant women, and infants. It is through these planning activities that the community embraces strategies to address poor outcomes and gaps in services. Although the Coalition no longer utilizes technology to connect families to resources, it does provide an online, very localized and accurate resource directory within our Coalition website at



The heart of Whole Child is our volunteers. Do you enjoy working with children?  Do you have a special talent or skill that could benefit children and families? Would you like to make a positive impact on your community? If the answer is yes, we would love to have you help in spreading awareness for children’s programs across Florida.



Raising healthy and successful children begins with you and your family, but you don't have to go it alone. We want to help support you at every stage of your child's life by connecting you to local providers. Learn about the Whole Child 6 Dimensions to well-being and discover local programs and resources to help your child succeed.



Local human service providers come together as the Whole Child Professional Network to serve as a voice to identify community needs and service gaps, discuss best practices, develop strategies for collaboration and promote the Whole Child philosophy in the human service community. Do you have a non-profit that focuses on children & families?


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