20 years helping Jacksonville children, Jim Clark turning over reigns at Daniel Kids

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After 20 years of helping Jacksonville children, Jim Clark is leaving his post at Daniel Kids.

Jim Clark recently retired from Daniel Kids after serving Florida’s oldest child-serving agency for 27 years aiding youth through his entire career.

During Clark’s illustrious career, he has served in several capacities to help create laws to protect children. 

Tackling children’s issues has been his life's mission, and it is reflective in his career. He created The Can Do Schools Program in Jacksonville, which was designed to support high-risk kids and evolved into the full-service school concept that is still implemented throughout the Duval Schools System today. 

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Jacksonville children and Floridian children have benefited from Clark’s work, such as when he wrote the grant proposal that established Florida’s Adoption Information Center hotline, which has been managed by Daniel Kids since 1994. The hotline offers information about adoption to anyone who wants it -whether it’s about adopting a child, or trying to locate birth parents. It has served nearly a quarter of a million people to date, and its success led to the agency’s recent creation of the Independent Living hotline in 2017. 

Other statewide campaigns Clark has worked on include the Statewide Psychiatric Program, which helps children with serious mental health issues. 
Clark has spearheaded the civil citation program to decrease minority over-representation in the juvenile justice system. The civil citation program has aided in keeping minority youths in Jacksonville out of the system for minor infractions, but has also become a model for the state for similar issues.

Clark served as president of the National Independent Living Association, leading the charge for the signing of the Chaffey Legislation, which positively changed how homeless and foster care youth are treated and funded.

When asked about what the community can do for troubled children, Clark said,  “I think our state and our community has done a good job in joining together to serve kids – but I think there is always room to improve and work toward an even more coordinated approach. I’d love to see nonprofit agencies unite more with parks, schools, churches and more to offer new opportunities for kids."

To ensure the success of Jacksonville’s children, Clark said “We need to pay special attention to high-crime areas and poverty zones. It’s especially challenging for kids and parents in those areas, they need more resources to keep their kids safe.”

Clark highly recommends parents stay involved in their children's lives by monitoring  social media, keeping them engaged in school and extra-curricular activities and knowing where they are and who they are with.

Since turning over the reins at Daniel Kids to long-time COO and now CEO, Lesley Wells, Clark was able to take a bucket-list vacation to China guilt-free. Clark said that travel is an important part of his semi-retired life. Semi, because “I’m a guy who likes to be involved, so I can’t really retire," he said. 

Clark unveiled his new venture - Clark Consultants - and will be using his expertise to advise nonprofits in strategic planning and fundraising, as well as doing cultural sensitivity training.