The most recent census data shows that nearly half of Miami-Dade's children reside in impoverished or low-income households, with even higher poverty rates among single-parent households in those areas. Many of these families qualify for benefits, including nutrition and housing assistance, insurance coverage, home energy benefits, low-cost or no-cost after-school and summer programs, and more. Even so, many of those in need are not taking advantage of the resources available to them because of a lack of awareness, limited family literacy, language barriers, immigration status, excessive paperwork, or other obstacles.
In an effort to bring those in need closer to the resources available, The Children's Trust is empowering local community-based organizations to streamline the public benefits enrollment process for families with children facing economic hardships and get them the help they need. Over the next 5 years, The Trust will allocate nearly $8 million as part of its Public Benefits Enrollment Initiative to address the pressing needs of Miami-Dade families navigating economic challenges.
Nine local partner organizations that know the obstacles that get in the way of families getting the help they need are partnering with the trust to bridge the gap in public benefits enrollment by strategically funding community organizations. By offering one-on-one enrollment assistance, providing ongoing support for renewals and recertifications, and ensuring that eligible benefits are sustained over time, the organizations are looking to provide families needed help with the backing of The Trust.
The organizations will not only work to make families aware of what is out there, but also actively monitor the progress of each application, ensuring that the approval process proceeds smoothly. The initiative is projected to facilitate the annual enrollment of at least 3,000 families into various public benefits programs.
"With this additional funding, The Trust acknowledges the significant obstacles families face in accessing essential services within our community. We are committed to ensuring that every family has equitable access to services designed for the well-being of all children and families in Miami-Dade County. As our community's needs continue to evolve, our utmost priority is to respond actively and effectively to these changes,” said James R. Haj, president & CEO of The Children's Trust.
This initiative comes after the Family and Neighborhood Support Partnerships (FNSP) initiative also received additional funding last year. FNSP teams are also comprised of partner organizations and are made up of management, clinical and direct service staff, paraprofessionals, care coordinators, and success coaches that guide families through complex systems and connect them with essential resources, including transportation and short-term housing assistance.
The FNSP initiative plays a crucial role in directly supporting children and families who are facing challenges and is designed to offer comprehensive and individualized support to children, youth and their families facing challenges that hinder their health, social, educational, and economic potential. By emphasizing strengths and building resilience through personalized wraparound services, FNSPs aim to foster positive childhood experiences, strengthen family and youth relationships, and meet families' basic needs with the result being better outcomes for children, youth, and families.
"Now more than ever, we are committed to helping to stabilize families in Miami-Dade. When a child's family has its basic needs met, the child is more likely to achieve health, happiness, and success,” said Haj. For more information visit TheChildrensTrust.org.