FRAN ALLEGRA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OUR KIDS OF MIAMI-DADE/MONROE, INC. AND JUDGE CINDY LEDERMAN, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE DEPENDENCY JUDGE, REGARDING CHILDREN TRANSITIONING OUT OF FOSTER CARE: INDEPENDENT LIVING
Audrey M. Edmonson, Prime Sponsor
Board of County Commissioners
Ms. Fran Allegra, Executive Director, Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. (Our Kids), appeared before the Board and informed the Board members of the challenges faced by Our Kids for young adults transitioning out of foster care to independent living. She noted the County Mayor sponsored a pilot program that provided free Metro Transit passes to these young adults. Ms. Allegra expressed appreciation to the Board members for its support and leadership on this initiative. She pointed out that due to budget cuts, the pilot program would not be extended.
Ms. Julia Villamizar, Our Kids participant, appeared before the Board and identified ways in which she had been benefiting from receiving Metro Transit passes for free.
Mr. Ronnie Williams, Our Kids participant and representative of Miami Youth Striving High for Independence and Empowerment (SHINE) appeared before the Board. He indicated the program would enable former foster youth who were now young adults to remain in school and therefore remain productive and contributing residents of the community.
Ms. Nelly Bryant, Regional Director, Our Kids, appeared before the Board. She urged the Board to continue the existing pilot program.
Commissioner Martinez noted his role in assisting foster families and spoke about the need to assist young adults transitioning from foster care.
Commissioner Edmonson directed the County Manager and Mr. Harpal Kapoor, Transit Agency Director, to identify funds to support the Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. initiative for the coordination and delivery of services for its Independent Living Program for children transitioning out of foster care before the April 15, 2009, Transit, Roads and Infrastructure Committee (TIRC) meeting.
Ms. Jennifer Glazer-Moon, Director, Office of Strategic Business Management (OSBM), stated that OSBM would review the funding allocation for bus passes.
Discussion ensued between Commissioners Heyman and Gimenez and Ms. Allegra regarding the Transit Agency’s budget, the funding allocation for the free fare bus passes, continuing the pilot program while County underwent its budget process, the verification of eligible participants for this pilot program, and the need to address this issue because the program was worthwhile.
Commissioner Jordan as Chair of the TIRC asked Ms. Allegra make a presentation at the next Committee meeting similar to today’s presentation regarding free passes for former foster youth.
Commissioner Edmonson directed the Mr. Robert Cuevas, County Attorney, to prepare a resolution under her sponsorship extending the existing pilot program until January 1, 2010, in order to provide free transit passes to eligible participants in the Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., and to present the resolution at the April 15, 2009, TIRC meeting. She further requested that the TIRC Chair to waive this proposed resolution to the next Board meeting immediately following the Committee meeting.
County Attorney Cuevas stated the proposed resolution would be prepared and advertised as a public hearing item.
In addition, Commissioners Sosa and Diaz asked to be listed as co-sponsors on the proposed resolution coming forth under Commissioner Edmonson’s sponsorship.
In response to Vice Chairman Diaz’ question regarding if this pilot program could be extended, Mr. Clinton Forbes stated the program could be extended through April 2009.
Commissioner Jordan asked that the Miami-Dade Transit Director provide the Committee with a listing of similar pilot programs, which the County should be concerned with in terms of the overall cost for each of those programs when the Committee heard this presentation.
The foregoing Citizen's Presentation was presented. In addition, the Board deferred and referred the foregoing presentation to the April 15, 2009, Transit, Roads and Infrastructure Committee at 2:00 p.m.
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