Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why is a dedicated funding source critical for children and families in Miami-Dade County?

A: Children make up 21 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 if they’re 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 prevent abuse, neglect, crime, school failure 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 recent years, state and local governments have significantly cut their budgets for services that support children and families. The results have been devastating. Children’s service councils, such as The Children’s Trust, were established to supplement and complement government funding – not to replace it. Due to these drastic cutbacks, The Children’s Trust has become 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 at least some of the supports they need to have the chance to grow up to become contributing members of our community.

Q2: Who benefits?

A: Everyone – children, parents, grandparents, educators, law enforcement officers, judges and the juvenile justice system, doctors and health care professionals, child care centers, nonprofit organizations and social service agencies. 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 develops programs to meet the needs of all children and families. Different communities have different needs, and some communities need more attention. The involvement of 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. 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 school failure, hospitalization, foster care and juvenile crime save tax dollars in the long run. Research shows that $1 invested in quality basics in the early childhood years saves at least $7 later for police, prosecution, prison and remedial education costs. 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, that you, don’t later 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 fourteenth full year of grant-making and program monitoring. Our Strategic Plan, revised in 2014, guides our investments.

Our funding educates and inspires parents 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 investment.

For a detailed look, visit How We Fund.

Q5: By what authority does The Children's Trust levy taxes?

A: The Children's Trust was established (and reauthorized in August 2008) 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 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 lower) for a homesteaded residential property in Miami-Dade County will pay $41.87 a year for fiscal year (FY) 2017-18.

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 FY 2017-18 is $89,591 for a homesteaded residential property (the median taxable value for a non-homesteaded residential property is $120,596 for FY 2017-18). At the Children’s Trust’s proposed rate of 0.4673 (47 cents), a taxpayer with the homestead exemption will pay $41.87, or 81 cents a week. The proposed tax rate of 0.4673 will generate approximately $122 million in revenues for The Children’s Trust in FY 2017-18.

Funds are used to promote the greatest positive impact for children and families. The Children's Trust budget for FY 2017-18 is projected to be $138,864,619 with total operating expenditures of $10.4 million; 88 percent of the budget is committed to services for children and families in this community through programs and initiatives previously approved for funding by the board. Because fiscal accountability is paramount, The Children's Trust requires strict accounting of the funds distributed to each provider.

Q8: Does the money simply go on and on... forever?

A: On Aug. 26, 2008, Miami-Dade voters decided in overwhelming numbers – 86 percent – to reauthorize The Children’s Trust. Miami voters across our three major ethnic communities voiced their solid support for the role of The Trust; the vote was especially meaningful given the difficult economic times. At the time, the vote authorized The Children's Trust "for perpetuity."

Q9: 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 has at-large seats to 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 (Childhood Health & Development, Programs, Finance & Operations, By-Laws, and Ad Hoc), then moved to the full board for consideration. The board generally meets the first Monday of each month, in open public forum, to discuss and communicate its decisions.

The Children's Trust, after sustaining several consecutive years of declines to its operating budget (due to decreased tax revenues), will again this year enjoy an increase over last year. 

The board remains vigilant in monitoring how many dollars are used for administrative costs. For FY 2017-18, 7.5 percent of the total budget was assigned to administrative management of The Children’s Trust.

Every January, The Children's Trust publishes an annual report which details spending on programs and services, and analyzes the impact on the community (in terms of quantifiable results and outcomes for children and families).

Click here to download a copy of the 2016 Annual Report.

Q10: 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 for Miami-Dade County, seven other Florida counties operate children’s service councils and/or commissions: the original in Pinellas, Duval, Hillsborough (Tampa), our South Florida neighbors in Broward and Palm Beach, as well as Martin and St. Lucie counties. The Florida Children’s Council serves to coordinate their efforts across the state.

Visit the Florida Children's Council, the umbrella organization for children's services councils in the state. 

Q11: How can I find out more about The Children’s Trust?

A: Visit other areas of our website for a detailed listing of our many programs and services. Sign up to receive one of our e-publications, like Trust Insider, a monthly newsletter about the work we’re doing in the community; Capital Connection, a legislative-session weekly which keeps you abreast of lawmaking developments that affect children and families; or our provider bulletin, which publicizes funding opportunities, workshops/trainings, events and job opportunities each week. Tune into Our Children, a quarterly half-hour news program broadcast on WSVN 7 with county support. And follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can also:

  • Visit our online Community Calendar to learn about trainings and workshops sponsored or facilitated by The Children’s Trust.
  • Access and download a number of Trust publications on our site, including Parenting Our Children, a service-oriented monthly newsletter for parents and caregivers packed with helpful information and relevant resources.
  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel to view previously broadcast episodes of Our Children, and clips covering annual Children’s Trust events such as the Family Expo, Young Talent Big Dreams and Champions for Children.
  • Download the logos and media kit available on our site, as well as the 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).