On January 17, 1995, the City Commission pledged its commitment to children through adoptions of a resolution supporting community-defined standards for children in Kent County called “Our Children, Our Future.” The Mayor established the Child Well-Being Task Force in March 1995 to assess City operations and make recommendations to better fulfill these standards. The task force presented seven recommendations to the City Commission on December 12, 1995. The task force made it apparent that successful completion of their recommendations hinged on the creation of an Office of Children, Youth & Families with appropriate responsibilities and staff support.
As a result, a partnership was created through the City Commission/Board of Education Liaison Committee comprised of three City Commissioners and three Board of Education members. A statement of joint goals and objectives addressing issues of children, youth and families was created by the committee, and was adopted by their respective bodies in June 1997.
Lynn Heemstra, OCC’s first administrator, was hired in August, 1998 to develop the office and promote “Our Children, Our Future” standards in policy and practice.