Miami-Dade County community leaders and groups from across the area came together on Dec. 13 for a press conference to begin the next phase of Together for Children (TFC), a county-wide, preventative initiative to break the cycle of youth violence in Miami-Dade.
Among the leaders in attendance were Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent (M-DCPS) Alberto M. Carvalho. He was joined by representatives from more than 200 community organizations and service providers who combined form the neighborhood-driven coalition of governmental, public and private entities collaborating to address the root causes of youth violence in the community.
“Far too many children in Miami-Dade have had their lives cut short or irreversibly damaged due to violence,” said T. Willard Fair, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami Inc. and member of the Together for Children Board of Trustees. “Together for Children is keeping its promise to work on a solution focused on preventing incidents through a long-term approach that will measure impact over time to ensure strong results.”
In September of 2016, after a rash of tragedies ending in the deaths of Miami children, county leaders sought to partner with community groups, residents, parents and youth to address the root causes of youth violence. Three years later and after engaging more than 3,000 community stakeholders, six community coalitions representing areas across the County have been formed, reached a consensus on the approach to tackling youth violence and developed detailed action plans for how it can be achieved.
Those six neighborhood coalitions have individual governing boards representing areas where the most at-risk youth have been identified, including: Miami Gardens/Opa Locka, Northeast Corridor, Liberty City, Overtown, Perrine/Goulds/Richmond Heights, and Homestead/Florida City/Naranja.
With funding and other resources from the Perez Family Foundation, The Children’s Trust, Miami-Dade County, and M-DCPS, Together for Children now will become a sustainable organization with a county-wide board of trustees to oversee impact throughout Miami-Dade, and support the work of the six neighborhood coalitions that will continue to conduct day-to-day efforts to address youth violence.
“Miami-Dade County cannot thrive if we are not ensuring the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens,” Carvalho said. “I am proud of the work that has been done by so many community groups and residents across our county to make Together for Children a reality. This is a partnership that will benefit our children and families for generations to come.”
Each neighborhood coalition has developed an action plan that is tailored to the needs of the respective area’s youth and families, and a framework for accountability. A key component of all Together for Children’s neighborhood actions plans is a referral network that uses shared data and resources to identify children in crisis and refer them for intervention and/or prevention services that foster positive outcomes for families and ultimately help reduce violence among youth.
The newly installed board of trustees includes representatives from the anchor institutions that began Together for Children, including M-DCPS, Miami-Dade County, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and the Children’s Trust.
It also includes representatives of each neighborhood coalition, a parent representative, and a student representative. The board will work to ensure the work of Together for Children yields measurable results for Miami-Dade’s children and the communities in which they live. The board held its inaugural meeting to begin this work immediately following the press conference.
For more information on the board of trustees and Together for Children, follow @tfcmiamidade on Facebook and Twitter, and @tfcmiamidadecounty on Instagram.