The Miami Bridge Basic Center Program also known as Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) is funded by a federal grant through the Health and Human Services Department. The BCP helps create and strengthen community based programs to meet the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth under 18 years old. Miami Bridge BCP tries to reunite young people with their families or locate appropriate alternative placements. The program provides the following services, up to 21 days of shelter in a trauma-informed nurturing environment providing food, clothing and medical care, crisis intervention, recreational programs and aftercare services for youth after they leave the shelter. The BCP is a prevention program with the goal to keep youth off the streets, prevent homelessness and avoid entrance into the Child Welfare or Juvenile Justice Systems whenever possible.
Formal education is a crucial key to future success. Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services, Inc. intercedes when Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has exhausted its range of outreach activities to re-engage truant youth. Miami Bridge goes a step further by developing new strategies to assist youth in overcoming issues that impede school attendance and personal development. We offer an array of intervention services to assist families with troubled children ages 6-17 who are at-risk, chronic runaways, abused, abandoned or neglected and /or have a history of habitual truancy and related behaviors. Miami Bridge also offers community- based services such as “First Stop for Families,” our family crisis prevention/intervention program that assists families who feel overwhelmed due to youth who demonstrate ungovernable behaviors such as staying out late, difficulties in school , habitual truancy or conduct issues. Federal and state compliance offices provide assistance to schools that wish to refer truant students to a social service agency. Miami Bridge is one of two agencies serving M-DCPS that intercedes when M-DCPS’s Truancy Child Study Team meets and concludes that all efforts were made to re-engage the truant youth to no avail. There are approximately 1000 truant youth referred to Miami Bridge yearly that require new strategies to assist them in overcoming issues that impede school attendance, academic performance and /or prosocial skill development. Miami Bridge is serving all elementary, middle and postsecondary schools in the Central and South Region of Miami-Dade County. Through funding from the United Way and Florida Network, Miami Bridge is able to employ Master’s level counselors and case managers to address these critical issues.
When family tensions mount and problems seem overwhelming, Miami Bridge’s “First Stop for Families Program” is here to assist – working with approximately 400 youth and their families per year. Funded by the State of Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and local foundations, this program is designed to provide services to help an array of services to help families stay together and in the spirit of the law, develop short-term, temporary services and programs utilizing the least restrictive method for children in need of services and families in need of services. Our professionally trained social work staff understands the frustrations that drive wedges between children and families. With mediation services designed to open lines of communication in times of crisis and stress, we help families develop new solutions and approaches to overcome conflicts. Miami Bridge’s “First Stop for Families” offers comprehensive assessments, case management, short-term counseling, and link age to appropriate community services.
The program is designed to:
To ensure that client needs are met, case management services include referrals to other appropriate providers for the following services: health care; entitlement benefits; education; youth development activities; psychological and psychiatric services; legal assistance; therapeutic counseling; housing, parenting skills classes, etc. In cases where more intensive services are needed, Miami Bridge can petition the court to assist the family through the CINS/FINS process. The average length of services is approximately 12 weeks. Follow-up is provided at 30 and 60 days after discharge
When kids need a place to go, The Bridge is there to provide respite care in its two emergency shelter facilities. We serve more than 500 children in the shelter program each year.
When parents and teens need some personal space to gain greater objectivity, Miami Bridge’s residential services provides respite shelter. When youth run away from family situations characterized by abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, Miami Bridge’s shelters are here to provide a safe haven. When the child welfare system has no appropriate community-based homes available to provide domicile for dependent adolescents, Miami Bridge’s shelters are here to nurture and provide essential services.
Our doors are open day and night to receive children in need of immediate shelter. But we offer so much more than 40 available beds. We provide counseling, case management, a formal academic education program, mental health and substance abuse prevention services, youth development activities, life-skills education, and recreation.
Miami Bridge’s Emergency Shelter program helps youth gain personal insight, develop new coping skills, and adopt more positive behavior patterns that will aid them in returning home or to a new foster care placement. The CINS/FINS best practice program is funded by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Office of Prevention and Victim Services. The core value is to return the youth to the community with resiliency skills to gain success and become positive influences in their community. Some youth return to their families or extended families, while others may be placed in foster care or independent-living care based on the timeline for them to age out of the system at 18.
The emergency shelters offer:
The Nurturing Parenting Program is a 12-week service for parents/caregivers and teens ages 12-17. This program addresses the specific needs and challenges faced in parenting adolescents and helps strengthen relationships with parents/caregivers and teens. Some topics covered include: nurturing communication strategies, negotiation and compromise, setting reasonable limits, recognizing and understanding each other’s needs, understanding adolescent development and increasing personal power, self-esteem and self-concept. Parents/caregivers and adolescents meet separately for the beginning of the group, and then meet together for parenting and communication skills activities. Food and prizes are given out during each session. To signup or get more information please call 305-635-8953.
Miami Bridge Nurturing Parenting Program is funded by The Children’s Trust. The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.
The Host Homes Program is a safe, short-term intervention for young adults ages 18-21 who are currently experiencing homelessness for various reasons, including but not limited to family conflict, poverty, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The goal is to provide a safe, temporary, welcoming space for up to six months where the young person has time to repair their relationships with their self-identified family or make decisions about other housing options with the support of a caring housing case manager. Successful implementations of short-term host homes have generally been volunteer-based programs, with stays lasting from three to six months; however, other successful implementations addressing community needs have existed in the short-term housing system. Providing short-term host homes is a cost-effective and successful model for preventing youth homelessness in many cases.