Advocacy & Community Services


The Florida Youth Congress on HealthNicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, Advocacy and Community Services

In collaboration with national and state school health agencies, the Division has hosted for for the last four years the Annual Florida Youth Leadership Conference on Health. Students from the state of Florida from middle to high school, actively participate in workshops and town hall meetings to address risk behaviors affecting their health.

The Florida Youth Risk Survey conducted annually by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, has identified the following seven risk behaviors affecting the health of Florida's adolescent population. The Florida Youth Conference on Health creates its agenda around these risky behaviors:

• Injuries: Intentional and Non-Intentional
(Sports, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Homicide, Suicide and Violence)
• Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and HIV
• Cigarette and Tobacco Use
• Consumption of Alcohol and Other Drugs
• Teen Pregnancy
• Nutrition: Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity

Mother and son ImageThe Florida Youth Congress on Health is a direct result from this yearly effort. This group of youngsters aid legislators and policy makers in making recommendations and programmatic decisions to help improve the morbidity and mortality associated with these risk behaviors.

This first of its kind national initiative has been duplicated by the states of New York, Louisiana and Georgia.

For information call Ms. Barbara Soliman at 1-800-340-5949 or e-mail at

Teen Pregnancy: Baby So Soon Program

This program targeted towards the prevention of teenage pregnancy analyzes through data collection and research the incidence, predisposing factors, risks, cultural issues, and parental knowledge related to the teen females residing in Miami-Dade County.

Advocacy LogosThe Baby So Soon Program was established in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, The March of Dimes and the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

Phase One of this program is geared to assess parental knowledge on routine newborn care, and delineate demographic characteristics and risk factor for target groups. COMPLETED

Phase Two: will develop innovative multicultural educational resources, as well as to adapt existing ones. These resources will enhance parental knowledge and skills on newborn care based on needs identified in Phase One. ONGOING

Phase Three: collaborates with existing home visitation programs in order to incorporate educational resources developed in Phase Two. This phase of the program will use service coordinators to integrate community programs geared towards the prevention of repeated teen pregnancies and towards the enhancement of newborn care skills and parenting skills. This phase intends to implement services in a holistic and culturally sensitive manner. ONGOING

For information please call Dr. Gloria Riefkohl at (305) 666-6511 ext. 2520, or e-mail:

The Early Childhood Initiative Readiness Coalition of Miami-Dade County

There is a major community wide initiative to help the 158,00 children in Miami Dade County between birth and age 5 become ready and eager to learn and succeed in first grade and beyond.

A key element is The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, led by David Lawrence Jr., and housed at the United Way of Miami-Dade 3250 SW 3rd Avenue, Miami. The Foundation and its staff works with The Miami-Dade School Readiness Coalition led by Mr. Chuck Hood (305) 646-2223

Four major coalition taskforces are engaged:

1. Child Health and Wellbeing
Chairpersons: Deise Granado-Villar MD and Wil Blechman, MD

2. Early Childhood Development and Education
Chairpersons: Marisel Elias-Miranda and Carole Abbott, Ph.D.

3. Prevention and Intervention of Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect
Chairpersons: Ms. Sara Herald and Mr. William Atkins

4. Parenting and Family Skills Services and Information
Chairpersons: Ms. Ophelia Brown-Lawson and Mr. Obdulio Piedra

The Division and the Hospital closely collaborate with this effort in pursue of quality childcare and education for the success of all children.

For information please call Ms. Karen Liederman at (305) 646-7228.  

The Car Seat Restraint Offenders Program (CROP)

Offered in conjunction with the Metro Dade-Police Department, this program works with defendants cited for Child Restraint Violations (F.S.316.613), and gives them the option of attending a child restrain educational program available to the offender only once in a lifetime. Defendants may also be placed in the program by the court system, or as part of a sentence.

This ninety minute educational class covers areas such as crash dynamics, benefits of child restraint devices, proper use and adjustment of child restraint devices, and the legal aspects of Florida's child restraint law. Defendants are also required to bring a child restraint device to the class. Those who have no child restraint devices, nor the means to purchase one, and are Medicaid recipients, are eligible for a child restraint device at no charge.

Registration for classes takes place at the County Clerk's Office where a date for the class is assigned to the defendants. The Division of Preventive Medicine maintains a phone line with a recorded message containing information regarding scheduled dates and times for classes. Messages with questions or inquiries can be taken from the defendant through this voiced service.

The County Clerk's Office enters a withhold of adjudication and closes these cases for those who successfully complete the program. Defendants who do not complete the program will have their licenses suspended. Upon completion of this program, their licenses will be reinstated.

For registration information and dates, please call (305) 663-6865.