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Miami Dade Budget Cuts Leave Needy Families to Fend for Themselves
Date:8/25/2009

5,622 Families will lose Much Needed services

MIAMI, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Miami-Dade County Mayor Alvarez has eliminated all funding for community-based organizations (CBOs) for FY 2009-10, effective October 1, 2009. The proposed would mean the total elimination of over $31 million in grants to community-based organizations in Miami-Dade County. A significant portion of the CBO cuts would apply to Institute for Child & Family Health (ICFH) the largest provider of children's services in the County. ICFH uses the county funding to provide programs in mental health, juvenile justice, and prevention services to needy families.

"The grant funding we currently receive from the county provides services to 5,622 families in Miami-Dade County," said Robert D. Nolan, Ph.D., Executive Director for ICFH, "most of these children and families come from the working poor population who do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford private insurance, if these programs are cut they will have nowhere else to turn to for services."

Also at risk are 37 staff positions that oversee these programs. The service area that stands to lose the most funding and staff are the juvenile justice programs.

"Miami-Dade County currently runs one of the most innovative juvenile delinquency prevention programs in the nation," said Juan C. Gonzalez, Ph.D., Director of Programs and Services for ICFH, "just this month the Thailand Ministry of Defense visited our offices to learn more about our juvenile justice programs which has only a one-percent rate of juvenile re-offenders."

Community based organizations serve as the lifeline to our county's underserved community, these programs strengthen individuals, families and communities. Loss of these services will compound the problems that low-income families are facing.

"My child's behavior has improved tremendously since he first entered the program," said Yolanda Castillo, Mother of 17 year old Jonathan who is a recent graduate of the Family Empowerment Program, "he is less aggressive and is doing better in school; it would be a grave mistake to cancel the funding for this program."

Gilda Garcia, mother of 13 year old Geovanni, talks about the positive effects of the SNAP Program has on children with similar problems saying, "My Son came to the program because he was being bullied at school, now his self-esteem is improved to the point that he serves as a mentor to the other kids."

We encourage members of the community to call their commissioners and ask them to restore funding to community-based organizations. Negative impacts from the proposed cuts are already occurring as programs begin to close enrollment for new clients.

The Institute for Child and Family Health (ICFH) is a private, not-for-profit organization that has been providing health, behavioral health, educational, and prevention services to the children, adolescents, and families of Miami-Dade County for over 60 years. It is one of the oldest and largest community health centers exclusively dedicated to the well being of children and families in the state of Florida. ICFH serves over 25,000 children, adolescents, and families per year. For more information about ICFH, please visit the organizational Web site at www.icfhinc.org.

    Contact:  Alina Plasencia
    Director of Marketing
    Institute for Child & Family Health
    aplasencia@icfhinc.org or
    T: 305-722-5322
    F: 305-688-3889
    www.icfhinc.org


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SOURCE Institute for Child & Family Health
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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