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  • Fritzie Saintoiry

Why Group Homes are Needed for Abused and Neglected Children in South Florida

Dante’s eyes drop tears onto his pillow every night and open every morning to the same dreadful and hopeless situation. It started with his parents. His abusive father had inflicted wound upon wound, leaving scars that lingered painfully after he disappeared for good. His mother was overwhelmed with raising a child alone and had a mountain of debt. It wasn’t long before she turned to drugs, becoming neglectful and cold towards her son. Dante was taken from her. At his grandma’s house, he could feel the weight of his existence bearing down on her frail and tired body growing weak until she was no longer able to appropriately care for him. Thus, he was pushed to his aunt’s house where he sought sleep but only found fearful nights. He was haunted mercilessly by his uncle who stood over his bed, touching him. Dante’s tears rain puddles that never seemed to dry. No one cared about his needs or his thoughts, where he went or what he did. He was all alone, until Dante reached out to his school social worker, hoping that someone would just save him from his pain and rescue him from this place called “home.”

According to the Florida Department of Children services, as of June 30, 2015, there were 22,000 children reported as being neglected or abused. So many young boys like Dante are waking up to the realization that they can no longer survive in their current living conditions. Many have spiraled downhill as they pass from house to house, only finding increasing danger, fear, anxiety and pain at every turn. Youth like Dante need healing, security and support in a place that they can truly call “home.” Not “home” like the abusive parents’ house. Not “home” like the grandparent who can no longer give him the attention and support that a child needs. And not “home” like the terrifying aunt’s house. Homes are meant to offer a family support system, a safe environment, opportunity for growth, and hope for a bright future. “Home” is a hopeful haven.

Genesis Hopeful Haven strives to provide true homes for struggling youth in the Miami Dade County. We welcome boys age 6-12 in our Foster Home. There are many factors that make Hopeful Haven unique. It begins with offering a true home – a family style home – with a close-knit support system, a secure living space, and the opportunity for endless growth toward a successful future. Florida is in need of more safe havens for children who are hurting just like Dante. Let’s be a voice for the voiceless and stand up for kids in need.

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