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Overview of Miami-Dade County’s Dependent Children and Youth

2022-2023 Representation by Child Advocates

From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, Voices For Children Foundation and the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office/Circuit Eleven (formerly known as the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program) provided child advocacy, legal representation, and more to 2,140 or 100% of children, youth and young adults placed under the supervision of the Florida Department of Children & Families and Citrus Family Care Network due to abuse or neglect. All were provided with diligent representation by well-trained, FDLE background-checked, caring, committed and tenacious Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Office/Circuit Eleven adult advocates that worked in tandem with GAL attorneys. Voices For Children Foundation (Voices) funded 58 of 107 or 54% of GAL Office full-time and one of five or 20% of part-time staff members.

The GAL Office recruited, trained and supervised 596 child advocates that represented all 2,140 dependent children from throughout Miami-Dade County in 2022-2023. This included 552 GAL volunteers plus 44 staff advocates, all who directly represented children, including 16 that also supervised volunteer advocates. All GAL advocates worked closely with 21 GAL Office attorneys, including 19 full-time and two part-time attorneys. Together, GAL advocates and GAL attorneys provided the best, most comprehensive advocacy, legal representation and other support for Miami-Dade’s most vulnerable newborn babies to young adults up to 22 years of age. Representation included:

1,237 or 58% of children were represented by GAL staff advocates.  903 or 42% of children were represented by GAL volunteer advocates.

Voices is pleased to report that 2022-2023 was the fourth consecutive year in which 100% of all children under Miami-Dade Dependency Court supervision received the GAL Office’s unique advocacy and representation. This is a historic milestone for Voices and the GAL Office. 100% representation was maintained in 2022-2023 for all 2,140 dependent children, youth and young adults despite an increase of 209 or 11% more than the 1,931 dependent children, youth and young adults served in 2021-2022. These formerly abused and neglected children, youth and young adults benefited from the GAL Office’s caring advocacy and legal representation, ensuring that each one’s best interests were identified and voiced in Dependency Court. Many also received access to Voices’ financial support and much more.

2022-2023 Demographic Details

As always, children were placed in the dependency system due to physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse or neglect; surviving human sex trafficking; and/or having parents that had untreated or unresolved substance abuse problems and/or serious mental health issues and/or were incarcerated. Among the total 2,140 children, youth and young adults served, 51% were males and 49% females; 52% were Black, non-Hispanic; 40.5% were Hispanic; 5% were Caucasian; and 2.5% were multi-racial/other ethnicities. 38% of children represented by GAL advocates were 0-5 years old; 32.5% were 6-12 years; 12% were 13-15 years old; and 17.5% were 16-23 years of age. Children and youth represented by the GAL Office came from throughout Miami-Dade County. Most dependent children, youth and especially young adults experienced rising inflation in predominantly low-income underserved communities. These included Overtown, Allapattah, Edgewater, Liberty City, Little Haiti, Brownsville, North Miami, Opa Locka, Hialeah, East Little Havana, West Coconut Grove, Princeton, Perrine, Florida City and Homestead.

Impact Report Demographics:   49% females / 51% Males.   52% Black, non-hispanic / 40.5% Hispanic / 5% Caucasian / 2.5% Multiracial-Other ethnicities