Start Off Smart is a non-profit agency that serves residents of South Miami-Dade County. Working closely with the Homestead Police Department we strive to integrate law enforcement and human services personnel while serving victims of crimes. The combination of services provides a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the community. SOS works as a multidisciplinary team that coordinates community based services. The approach used is to address the root cause of behaviors, in order to reduce crime and duplication of services, thus resulting in a reduction of repeat offenses.
Referrals are accepted from Law Enforcement, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, DCF, Court system, and self-referrals. All referrals pertaining to residents of South Miami-Dade County, Homestead and Florida City are accepted. Once a referral is received, contact is made with the family, an assessment is completed, and local support services are provided. The most frequent requests for assistance are for child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation, substance abuse, domestic violence, ungovernable children, mental health services, human trafficking, child chronic absenteeism, child disruptive behaviors. housing, parenting, elderly abuse and neglect, and homelessness. Funding for the operation of SOS is provided through grants and in-kind donations.
SOS utilizes the best practice of Care Coordination that begins at program intake and includes the development of a family care plan that addresses the service needs of families/youth. Plans are regularly updated as families are expected to be engaged until identified referrals and services are completed. Care coordination is guided by a jointly developed care plan to establish goals, coordinate clinical and other services, address safety issues and garner family supports. Care coordination may include visits that occur in the home in order to assess living conditions and engage the youth and family as it relates to family goals and success in the program that includes monitoring and documentation of participation and progress. Families with multiple, complex challenges benefit from a team approach to services, and care coordination helps families to organize and align their team. The team is comprised of an integrated network of a range of service providers and natural supports that leverage partners’ resources to holistically address the needs of families and improve outcomes.