The Children's Trust has announced a substantial investment of nearly $8 million over five years to empower local community-based organizations to help ensure that public benefits enrollment becomes more accessible to families with children who are seeking help and essential resources.
In July, The Children's Trust Board of Directors unanimously approved more than $1.5 million per year for the next five years to initiate the project commencing this month. The Trust’s Health & Wellness: Public Benefits Enrollment Initiative seeks to address the pressing needs of Miami-Dade families grappling with economic challenges, especially during Miami-Dade’s current affordability crisis.
Through strategic funding of community organizations, the initiative will offer one-on-one enrollment assistance and ongoing support for renewals and recertifications, ensuring that families’ eligible benefits are maintained over time. Additionally, the program will actively track the status of each application to determine approval progress. In total, these comprehensive services are projected to help more than 6,000 families enroll into various public benefits programs, significantly improving their lives and the local economy.
“With this investment, The Trust recognizes there are often obstacles in the public benefits enrollment process, making it harder for families to connect to essential services in our community. We are committed to ensuring that families gain access to the services designed for their well-being,” said The Children’s Trust President; CEO James R. Haj. “As the needs of our community continue to evolve, it is our priority to actively and effectively respond to these changes.”
Recent census data had underscored the severity of the issue, revealing that nearly half of Miami-Dade's children are living in impoverished or low-income households, with even higher poverty rates among single-parent households. Many of these children and their families are eligible for various essential benefits, including nutrition assistance, insurance coverage, home energy credit, housing assistance, as well as access to low- or no-cost after-school and summer programs and child care. However, numerous obstacles can slow or block families in the enrollment process, such as lack of awareness, limited family literacy, language barriers, immigration status of family members, excessive paperwork, and procedural complexities. This initiative aims to break down enrollment barriers and enable families to access comprehensive and individualized support for children and families navigating difficult times. The nine public benefits enrollment partner organizations that were funded are listed below:
- Citrus Health Network, Inc.
- Community Health of South Florida, Inc.
- Family Central Inc.
- Family Resources Center of South Florida, Inc.
- Haitian Neighborhood Center Sant La, Inc.
- Jessie Trice Community Health System, Inc.
- Start Off Smart, Inc.
- Sundari Foundation, Inc.
- Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Miami (YMCA)
This investment complements The Children’s Trust’s over $13 million investment into Family and Neighborhood Support Partnerships (FNSP) over five years. The FNSP expert teams are management, clinical and direct service staff along with paraprofessionals, care coordinators, and success coaches, who guide families through complex systems and connect them with essential resources, such as transportation and short-term housing help. Click here to view the full list of grantees.
Chief Public Policy & Community Engagement Officer, The Children’s Trust