Florida Sterling Council and Governor Scott Recognizes Kids Central with Governor’s Sterling Award

Kids Central was named one of seven Governor’s Sterling Award winners. The prestigious Governor’s Sterling Award will be bestowed at the 2015 Governor’s Sterling Award Banquet at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Kids Central is the community-based child welfare lead agency for Florida’s Judicial 5th Circuit serving Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties. In this capacity, Kids Central is charged with organizing the local response and community support for abused and neglected children and their families. Kids Central manages all foster care, adoption, and related child and family services.

“Many years ago the Florida Legislature embarked on a bold initiative to create an entirely new paradigm of child welfare,” explained John Cooper, Kids Central CEO. “To date, the statewide results have been impressive, but Kids Central identified an opportunity to elevate strategy, enhance organizational capacity, and continue improving results by applying the Sterling framework and criteria.”

After receiving a grant from the Alliance for Children and Families Strategy Counts initiative to augment the social impact of nonprofit human service providers by enhancing strategic planning, Kids Central employed use of the Baldrige Criteria and Six Sigma processes to tackle some of the organization’s greatest barriers. Kids Central examined community engagement, recidivism, and foster home licensing time.

“Those who provide critical services to children and families must always push for organizational excellence and continuous quality improvement by benchmarking performance and outcomes,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll. “I applaud Kids Central for taking this step to become stronger as an organization and to ensure they are providing the most effective services to help at-risk children and families recover and heal.”

To be recognized as a Governor’s Sterling Award recipient, organizations must complete a rigorous application process consisting of a written application and extensive site visit. Applicants are evaluated against the Sterling Criteria for Performance Excellence by examiners who validate whether the organization meets the Criteria’s stringent requirements. Then, an independent panel of judges reviews examiner feedback and makes a final determination as to whether the applicant is a role model for the State of Florida.

The Sterling Award and Management Model are based on the National Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Since 1992, the Florida Sterling Council has assisted organizations to utilize proven standards of excellence as a guide to making improvements that generate better operations, customer value, and overall results. Sterling Award winners demonstrate increased market share, greater customer satisfaction, improved employee relations and enhanced operating performance.

“Focusing on all of the Sterling criteria, allows Kids Central to understand and manage performance across the entire organization while avoiding becoming myopic and only focusing on short-term priorities,” said John Cooper.

Kids Central’s approach led the organization to consistently exceed statewide performance.  The customer satisfaction of its clients, youth, and resource families is of great importance. The Kinship Program exceeds the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) benchmark; furthermore, the overall foster parent satisfaction, as well as, both youth and foster parent satisfaction with the Independent Living Services exceed benchmark data from peer organizations.

The application of the criteria also successfully reduced the average cost of services while enhancing the wellbeing of children by focusing on the provision of evidence-based diversion and community-based prevention services. In 2014, The Florida Sterling Council awarded Kids Central a Best Practice Award for Strategic Evidenced-Based Benchmarking.

“Nonprofits are under greater pressure to care for more clients with less resources,” explained Gail Burry Kids Central Board Chair. “Commonly, nonprofits focus on the day to day decisions instead of the strategic direction of the agency. Kids Central is leading the way in its field through its progressive and innovative approach to performance excellence.”


Kids Central, Inc. is the nonprofit lead agency accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) selected by the State of Florida to coordinate child protection services in Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit- Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties. Kids Central focuses on the prevention and diversion of families from the child welfare system, the care of children in foster care and strengthening families in our communities.