- Q1: Why is a dedicated funding source critical for children and families in Miami-Dade County?
A: Children make up 20 percent of our population and represent 100 percent of our future, yet they have no voice in government because they cannot vote. A dedicated funding source helps ensure a stable, recurring source of dollars for children's services.
Still, some people ask: Aren’t we already paying taxes for this?
No, not really. Most public dollars spent to benefit children go toward traditional education (such as public school). That’s vital, but children also need a host of other supports to grow up to become functioning, contributing members of society. They need good parenting, access to health care and quality child care to nurture their development and ready them for school and life. They need social services that reduce and address abuse, neglect, crime, failure in school and teen pregnancy. And they need quality after-school and summer camp programs because most parents work outside the home. Funding from The Children’s Trust supports these programs and services.
In years when growth is slow or during recessions, state and local governments often significantly cut their budgets for services that support children and families. The results can be devastating. Children’s services councils, such as The Children’s Trust, were established to supplement and complement government funding – not to replace it. But when faced with drastic cutbacks, The Children’s Trust becomes an even more essential safety net for children and families in Miami-Dade.
Raising healthy children may well be our society’s most challenging and critical job. Early intervention and investment are crucial. Without good guidance and support, children often get lost, and lost children often become lost adults. A dedicated source of funding such as The Children’s Trust helps ensure that children receive many of the supports they need to have the chance to grow up to become contributing members of our community.
- Q2: Who benefits?
A: Everyone – including children, parents, grandparents, caregivers, educators, law enforcement officers, judges and the juvenile justice system, doctors and health care professionals, child care centers, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations and social service agencies. The programs funded by The Children’s Trust also support our local economy. By providing safe and enriching programs for children of all ages and essential wrap-around services, families are able to work. The Children’s Trust reaches nearly every individual and every aspect of our community in some positive way.
Most parents care deeply for their children. But many families need help, and they deserve to receive that help in respectful partnerships. The Children's Trust advocates and funds programs to meet the needs of all children and families. Different communities have different needs, and some communities need more attention. The involvement of caregivers, parents and the community in planning, implementing and evaluating programs is crucial.
- Q3: Why does this matter if you don't have children?
A: You may not have children, but you were once a child. Maybe you’ve raised your own children and are a grandparent now. Surely a colleague at work or a close friend is a mother or father. Or the family next door has children, or there’s a school down the street from your home. It takes a village to raise a child; we need each other to make it all work.
And here’s another truism: Children who grow up to be successful, contributing members of society, and who pay their fair share of taxes and take part in civic life, provide benefits to us all. So, investments in programs that prevent failure in school, hospitalization, and youth and family involvement in dependency and delinquency systems save tax dollars in the long run. For example, research shows that for every $1 invested in quality early childhood education, there is a $7-$17 return on investment. It makes good economic sense to invest in services for children.
A dedicated source of funding for children’s programs and services such as The Children’s Trust helps ensure that all children get the best start possible in life in terms of education, health care and overall well-being. That means that society doesn't have to shoulder the burden, financial and otherwise, to pay for errors, transgressions and corrective measures.
- Q4: In what ways does The Children's Trust benefit the community?
A: Created in 2002, The Children’s Trust is currently in its eighteenth full year of grant-making and program monitoring. Our Strategic Framework guides our investments.
Our funding educates and inspires parents and caregivers in parenting programs; gets children ready for school and for success in life in early learning programs; provides safe places for learning and interaction in quality after-school programs and summer camps; encourages the self-expression and guidance of youth through a variety of enrichment programs; fosters safe and supportive communities in service partnerships; supports health as a pillar for child development through an array of health initiatives; rallies support for children and families through our public policy efforts locally and across the state; and better informs families by raising awareness through communication and media, while our research and development efforts point the way for effective planning and wise investments.
For a detailed look, visit the How We Fund section of our website.
- Q5: By what authority does The Children's Trust levy taxes?
A: The Children's Trust was established (and reauthorized in August 2008 in perpetuity) by voter referendum that passed on September 10, 2002, and which through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized The Children's Trust to levy up to 50 cents per $1,000 of property tax value in Miami-Dade County.
- Q6: What is a millage rate?
A: This is a tax rate charged against a property's taxable value to determine property tax due. The rate represents the tax dollars generated per thousand dollars of taxable value (e.g., a 1 mill levy on $1,000 of property equals $1).
Millage rates are typically voted on by elected representatives or by voters through a public referendum (as was the case with The Children's Trust referendum in 2002 in Miami-Dade County) after calculating the rate needed to generate sufficient revenue to meet projected budget and service needs.
- Q7: What does The Children's Trust cost us?
A: Much less than most people might think.
An owner of a median-assessed-value home (half the homes assessed higher, half assessed lower) for a homesteaded residential property in Miami-Dade County will pay $75.54 a year for fiscal year 2023-24.
As a dedicated source of funding for children's issues and services in Miami-Dade County, The Children’s Trust is authorized by Florida statute to levy up to 50 cents for every $1,000 of taxable property value (or “1/2 mill”).
For our community, let's assume that your house is assessed at the median taxable value, which for fiscal year 2023-24 is $151,082.00 for a homesteaded residential property (the median taxable value for a non-homesteaded residential property is $252,282.00 for fiscal year 2023-24). At the Children’s Trust’s proposed tax rate of 0.5000 mills, a taxpayer with the homestead exemption for a median-assessed-value home will pay $75.54, or $1.45 a week. The proposed tax rate of 0.5000 will generate approximately $203.2 million in tax revenues for The Children’s Trust in fiscal year 2023-24.
Funds are used to promote the greatest positive impact for children and families. The Children's Trust budget for fiscal year 2023-24 is projected to be $227,521,771.00 with 91.1 percent of that budget going directly to services for children and families in this community through programs and initiatives previously approved for funding by the board. The Children's Trust's administrative management costs are their lowest percentage of the total budget since the organization's founding in 2002. Because fiscal accountability is paramount, The Children's Trust requires strict accounting of the funds distributed to each provider.
- Q8: Who administers The Children's Trust funds?
A: An independent 33-member board, representing both the public and private sectors, decides how The Children’s Trust uses its funds. The board is comprised of representatives from children's organizations, as well as from key civic, religious, business, higher education, health, social services and parent organizations. Representatives of local government, law enforcement and labor, and a youth representative also are included. The board of The Children's Trust also has at-large seats to further ensure that the board reflects the diversity of our community.
The Children's Trust’s Board makes its decisions in full accordance with Florida “Sunshine Law,” requiring transparency and openness for all meetings of government and quasi-government agencies.
Decisions and recommendations for funding are made in committees (Program Services & Childhood Health, Finance & Operations, Executive and Ad Hoc), then moved to the full board for consideration. The board generally meets the first Monday of each month, in an open public forum, to discuss and communicate its decisions.
The board remains vigilant in monitoring how many dollars are used for administrative costs. For fiscal year 2023-24, 5.81 percent of the total budget has been assigned to administrative management of The Children’s Trust, which is the lowest in The Trust's history.
Every January, The Children's Trust releases an annual report which details spending on programs and services and analyzes their impact on the community (in terms of quantifiable results and outcomes for children and families).
Visit the About Us section of our website for a link to view the 2021-22 Annual Report.
- Q9: Who else is doing this in Florida?
A: The concept of a dedicated funding source for children dates more than a half-century to a decision made by voters in Pinellas County (St. Petersburg). Today, in addition to The Children’s Trust in Miami-Dade County, 10 other Florida counties operate children’s service councils and/or commissions: Duval, Hillsborough (Tampa), our South Florida neighbors in Broward and Palm Beach, as well as Alachua, Martin, Manatee, St. Lucie, Escambia and Leon counties. The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils and Trusts (formerly, the Florida Children’s Council) serves to coordinate efforts of member councils across the state.
- Q10: How can I find out more about The Children’s Trust?
A: Visit other areas of our website, www.TheChildrensTrust.org, for more information on funding areas and initiatives. Sign up to receive one of our e-publications, like Capitol Connection, a legislative-session weekly which keeps you abreast of lawmaking developments that affect children and families; or our Weekly Provider Bulletin, which publicizes funding opportunities, workshops/trainings, events and job opportunities each week. Also, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn for important updates on the work and resources of The Children’s Trust.
You can also:
• Visit our online Community Calendar to learn about events, trainings and workshops sponsored or facilitated by The Children’s Trust and its partners.
• Register to receive or access Trust publications on our site, including Parenting Our Children, a monthly newsletter for parents and caregivers packed with helpful information and relevant resources.
• Subscribe to our YouTube channel to view previously broadcast videos covering annual Children’s Trust events such as the Family Expo, Young Talent Big Dreams and Champions for Children.
Of course, we enjoy hearing from you, too. Call us at 305.571.5700 or email us email@example.com.