Mothers and fathers both play important roles in their child’s development. Living with only one parent is related to a greater likelihood of problems with a child’s physical and mental health, educational outcomes and behavior. While most (62 percent) Miami-Dade County children lived in married-couple families, 30 percent lived in single-mother families and 7.1 percent lived in single-father families.
For families experiencing the most intense pressures, such as extreme poverty, child abuse, mental illness or substance abuse, isolation from natural helping networks can have a devastating effect. And in the case of families where a parent has abused or neglected a child, even voluntary social service supports are not without risk; mandatory child abuse reporting requirements make it difficult to ask for help without risking possible severe sanctions. The existence of legal consequences and the stigma associated with child maltreatment only reinforce the isolation of many families at greatest risk.
In recent years, the field has begun to recognize the value of greater family involvement in decision making and of expanding the community of helpers beyond formal systems to include the family's own natural helping systems. Innovations in the area of mental health services and services to the developmentally disabled have produced experience that led these fields to promote family involvement in case decision making. The practitioners of wraparound service approaches have been vigorous proponents of active family influence over the service planning and delivery process.
Care Coordination is designed to adapt to the intricate challenges of families served in community child protection, whether a large and resourceful network of support is available or whether the family is completely isolated and overwhelmed. Some families need help in identifying potential supports, so gentle coaching may be needed to assist the family to think creatively. Care Coordination provides resource tools and wraparound services to address family issues and emergencies. The optimum goal is to build stronger and better communities by strengthening the family holistically through education, prevention and intervention.
Since 2007, our Care Coordination youth program has assisted more than 2,000 families with identifying their social needs and finding resolutions.