In the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KidsCount Report, the numbers representing Florida tell a tale of struggle:
Twenty-one percent of Florida children live in poverty; 13 percent are growing up in extremely high-poverty neighborhoods; 40 percent of children are growing up in single-parent households; and 49 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in school.
But there’s another side to that story, one of strength, support and successes. At Children’s Home Society of Florida, more than 2,000 local children and family members come through our door each year. Often at a breaking point, these families face tough challenges including instability, trauma, overwhelming stress and significant exposure to high crime and violence.
They could easily succumb to the struggles. Instead, they choose to find strength. They find strength within themselves to seek support — and, once they come to CHS, they find the strength in numbers with the abundance of support to overcome their challenges and build a path to success. These families are not defined by statistics.
As our nation recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s the perfect time to remind Miami that Children’s Home Society of Florida offers families free support, guidance and encouragement to manage parental stress and challenges — with Healthy Families Florida.
These are the families who reach out to CHS for guidance to raise their kids in safe, strong, healthy homes. These are parents who want to make the right decisions, who are motivated to improve their own well-being for the sake of their family.
Healthy Families rewrites the narrative. With dedicated support and encouraging mentors, parents find strength within — they realize how capable and nurturing they are. And they learn they’re not alone. Through this partnership, more than 500 local families become healthier and stronger each year.
Among families that complete the program, nearly 100 percent remain abuse-free. That means nearly 100 percent of families who partner with us on this journey remain out of the child welfare system.
These families are stronger than the statistics. They’re writing their own story – and that’s the one I’m going to read. That’s where Miami’s future is told.
Andry Sweet, COO
Children’s Home Society