By Jeniffer Viscarra, Commissioner
(August 31, 2020) – Many families in high conflict court proceedings simply cannot afford the therapeutic services necessary for critical intervention. For this reason, Miami-Dade County created Family Court Services (FCS), which provides supervised visitation and family, individual, and reunification therapy. As an attorney and Guardian Ad Litem, I have seen how invaluable FCS is for families coping with substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health issues. FCS is the only program of its kind in the country and is especially important for our low income families who would not otherwise have access to these services.
Aside from County funding, FCS relies upon the financial support of the community via a non-profit organization called KidSide, whose goal is to bridge the financial gap in an underfunded system. Though the good people at FCS work diligently, they are critically underfunded and cannot keep up with the demand for services, which has increased this year since the onset of COVID-19. The result is often a substantial wait for services, making a difficult and painful process even longer.
Fundraising for FCS has been significantly impacted in 2020. Traditionally, KidSide raised funds for FCS by hosting in-person events such as galas and receptions, which are not possible during a pandemic. With an increase in need of services and a decrease in funds, FCS faces an even greater struggle than usual. Consequently, so will our families. If you are in the position to help, I ask that you make a donation at kidsidemiami.org in support of our families in need.