Communities Connected for Kids provides oversight and coordination of the child-welfare system in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. At any given time, there are about 1,300 abused, abandoned or neglected children in our care. We are responsible for the safety and well-being of each one of them. We meet this responsibility through a mix of direct and contracted services. If you think about it in terms of building a house, we are the general contractor of the child-welfare system. The system is the house, we are the contractor, and our network of service providers are the subcontractors we pull together to make the house strong and ready to live in.
Who We Serve
Communities Connected for Kids offers a full range of care for children, adolescents, young adults and family members in Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast. We offer our services through a wide variety of approaches including in-home parenting and prevention services, family preservation, case management, residential programs and extended foster care services for teenagers and young adults.
You may be familiar with many of our subcontracted service providers. Our partners include, among others, Hibiscus Children’s Center, CASTLE, Children’s Home Society, Camelot Community Care and 4Kids of South Florida. Each agency brings many years of experience to our system of care. Services include parenting and substance-abuse counseling for parents and a full range of foster care, group care and wrap-around services for our children.
We provide some services and programs directly to the community. Those include:
- Road to Success
This program prepares teens and young adults for life outside of the foster-care system. Since the program was implemented in YEAR, the number of children formerly in foster care who graduate high school and then pursue post-secondary education has soared.
- Caregiver and Adoption Support
This program offers support groups, educational seminars, peer mentoring and an emergency fund to caregivers of children who have been removed from their homes. The program is overseen by a Caregiver and Adoption Support Coordinator, who serves as a bridge between foster parents and the rest of the system.
- Family Group Conferencing
This program empowers the family to identify all essential players in a child’s case plan (such as parents, grandparents, helpful neighbors, school teachers) to help them keep the child safe and prevent him from entering the foster-care system. It is an evidence-based model that has yielded great results throughout the country and locally.
- Foster Parent Mentor Program
This program helps retain foster parents by ensuring they are supported in their roles. Veteran foster parents help teach foster-parent classes and mentor novice foster parents. They also work closely with the Caregiver and Adoption Support Coordinator to ensure that foster parents receive the help and resources they need to do their jobs and to feel connected to the system of care and respected by all work in it.
Communities Connected for Kids conducts pre-service and in-service training for dependency case managers and opens them to the community. National experts provide community training opportunities in the areas of substance abuse, brain development, domestic violence, staff development and other related fields. The trainings are free to the community and help ensure that those in service are exposed to the most relevant, cutting-edge research.
In the tradition of true partnership, Communities Connected for Kids works closely with several agencies that are funded through Medicaid, substance abuse/mental health or private funds to offer a continuum of treatment services otherwise unfunded by Community Based Care dollars. These partnerships help families strengthen their capacity to care for their children or help children heal from trauma they’ve experienced.