Little Havana and surrounding neighborhoods, while popular among tourist and local visitors it remains one of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. ConnectFamilias is bringing partners together to turn this around and are dedicated to strengthening the community’s access to children services —and by extension their families. On any given day in ConnectFamilias Family Center, in the heart of the neighborhood’s Calle Ocho (S.W. 8 St.), staff, partners and volunteers are combining art and literacy to promote early learning, hosting community baby showers with a twist through ConnectFamilias “Healthy Mommy/Happy Baby Program” and linking expecting and new moms to prenatal and post-partum care, “Playing with Food” to promote healthy eating choices, offering free access to new books for children and youth through “CF Book Club” and “Connect to Family & Community” to allows children and their families opportunities to connect to Miami’s vast community resources in and outside of their neighborhood so that they may dream big and become productive connected citizens.
ConnectFamilias Care Teams strives to make it easier for families to receive the help they need with comprehensive assessment and screening services and the development and implementation of a family plan. Care Teams build a relationship with families so that they can provide them with comprehensive coordinated, whole person care: individualized based on family members needs and their role within the family to address everyone’s wellbeing not just one individual. Our holistic approach to care combines access to traditional services such as medical care, behavioral health, access to job training and education and educational workshops for lifelong learning combined with informal support networks which include positive family support, friends & neighbors and community connections to strengthen the families social capital helping them succeed and thrive. Coordination services are free and open to all families across Miami-Dade with most families served residing in Little Havana, Shenandoah, Coral Way, Silver Bluff, Allapattah and Flagami neighborhoods.
Building Community – The Power of Partnership
ConnectFamilias Family Center serves as a hub to bring services into the community and increase access to care and community resources in a safe nurturing and supportive environment in the neighborhood. With over 50 cross–sector partners comprised of parents, researchers, family and children & family service practitioners, Federal, State, City, County and Miami Dade County Public School and higher education staffers, policymakers, local business leaders and child advocates working together to design, strengthen and expand our community’s safety net in the neighborhoods where we live, work, play and go to school. Partners continue to connect and join forces to increase develop innovative programs rooted in best practices to increase access to education and college/workforce training, family and community health and wellbeing, child and youth enrichment and out of school activities along with skills training for youth, adults to explore workforce opportunities and increase long-term career success. By working together on common goals partners are cutting cost, reaching more families and addressing complex family needs in less time for quicker results. All the while partners are also addressing systemic issues and making needed changes, building capacity through cross training and making recommendations to improve service and business models that will benefit not only the families we see today but families across our community for years to come.
Taking Action for Collective Impact
ConnectFamilias Community Engagement Team supports parent advocates to educate community members, policymakers and practitioners about the work and needs of their community. The idea is to foster community engagement that supports success of children and their families in places where they live, work, play and go to school. By working together parents and community leaders co-design solutions that promote equity, dismantle unconscious biases and fears, and improve service delivery models and systems of care that work for those they aim to reach. Over the past 2 years we have successfully established CF Family Center, partnered with UM Mailman Center to open a satellite office in the neighborhood offering therapeutic parenting through their PCIT program, are working with parents and partners and City Officials to reclaim and activate an unsafe neighborhood city park for use by community residents. Action Team members are actively engaged in a number community boards, advisory committees and other civic groups as champions for children, change agents and serve as experts in their community and thought leaders helping to create positive changes for all children and families in Miami.
CF Learning Community
CF understands the importance of working to develop the next set of Best Practices and linking strategies and practices with those we aim to help. We are also interested in sharing the learning and informing the field to improve services models. This is why we partner with researchers and practitioners to test and elevate our service delivery and partnership models in a natural community lab setting while at the same time helping children and families move forward. As such, CF work Our work has been recognized this past summer by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation , as key partner with Consortium for Healthier Miami Dade and Florida Department of Health in Miami Dade for our partnership and role in helping to “Build A Culture of Health”. ConnectFamilias was selected as one of a 16 innovative practice models as part of the University of South Florida - Community Defined Evidence Project (CDEP), funded by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Annie E. Casey Foundation for our work in Hispanic Communities. The Children’s Trust also recognized ConnectFamilias in 2013 as a Champion for Children for Excellence in Health, Family & Community Services.