Village South Children’s Services Center


The Village South, a center providing family treatment services in Miami, FL, has created a Children’s Services Center to specifically meet the developmental needs of children, ages 0-5. All aspects of the program, including therapeutic daycare, case management, medical and dental assistance, assessment and therapy, have been designed to meet the specific needs of children. The services each child receives are based on the individual needs of the child as well as recommendations made as a result of the development/psychological evaluation. Services are provided to all children who reside with their parents at the Village South residential Families in Transition program. In addition, the SAMHSA Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women (PPW) program provided the opportunity to enhance the services offered.


Children's Services Center building

Summary of Innovative Program

Special Populations

The Children’s Services Center serves all children living on the residential campus no matter their developmental level at the time of admission. The program serves a high proportion of African American (39%) and Hispanic (39%) children as well as newborn infants (25 %), many of whom are involved at some time in the child welfare system. Attachment, safety and building resiliency are the main focuses of the program.

Program Replication Tips

Each child is assigned a pediatric case manager who develops an individualized service plan based on the strengths-based perspective, an evidence-based model that addresses all of the client’s life areas. Case management is an essential aspect of care with families experiencing substance use disorders by one or more family members. The care coordinator is responsible for conducting a comprehensive needs assessment for the child and collaboratively developing a service plan with the mother. Referrals and linkages for needed community services are also provided, interfacing with the systems the family is involved with (i.e., child welfare, medical, early learning) through case management services. The importance of following the American Academy of Pediatric Bright Futures guidelines is interwoven throughout the program and all children are established with a medical and dental “home.” This means they see one doctor in the program and continue with that doctor after they leave.

A therapeutic daycare is open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in order to give parents a chance to rebuild their lives and also participate in daycare activities. It is a Gold Seal Florida Department of Children and Families accredited daycare which uses the HighScope curriculum. This curriculum focuses on individual learning for each child and everything in the daycare is specially designed to encourage independence and self-exploration.

New parents are offered a class on baby safety and professionals teach them how to feed, swaddle and provide safe care for their babies, as well as instructing parents ton the value of taking care of themselves. Each mother is provided a bottle warmer. Safety concerns in regard to parents sleeping with their babies are discussed. To reinforce that it is safer for the baby not to sleep with parents, each mother is given a co-sleeper so the baby can be safe while sleeping close by.

Children ages 0 to 1 receive infant massages and parents are encouraged to spend time in the nursery classroom bonding with their babies and engaging in floor time play under the supervision of the childcare specialist. Children ages 1 to 5 receive structured storytelling. A variety of stories are told to the children to help them with their reading, writing and language skills, as appropriate for their ages. Cultural appropriateness is one of the factors included in the selection of stories to be told. All books used are provided by the Reach Out and Read Foundation and are offered in English, Spanish and Creole. Children also take part in “music hour” during which time they play various musical instruments in order to enhance their fine motor skill development. Our daycare staff are trained to observe and intervene if children are experiencing developmental delays. When appropriate, the lead child therapist arranges an evaluation at the Linda Ray Center if the child is under 3 years old or with an Early Intervention Program for those over 3 years old.

Young children are divided into Toddler 1 and Toddler 2 classes. Children are moved from the nursery when they can walk well and when they are ready developmentally. The toddler staff assist the mothers with toilet training. There is a pre-school class for children ages 3-5 years old. The child care specialist teaches these children the skills needed to be ready for kindergarten. In addition, children ages 3 to 5 will receive twice weekly play therapy. A variety of play therapy games are used in accordance with the "Play Therapy Practice Guidelines" endorsed by the Association for Play Therapy, a world-wide organization dedicated to the advancement of play therapy. School age children receive structured homework sessions provided by the childcare specialist and parents are encouraged to attend these sessions.

Recreation is also a key part of children’s services and a recreation plan is part of the curriculum. This includes off campus outings to neighborhood parks, art museums and sports activities. Weekend activities include all of the parents and residential children (and include children who reside off-campus) and they take place under the supervision of the childcare specialist as part of a weekend "Mommy and Me" class.

Policy & Financing Strategies

Funding is received from SAMHSA PPW, State Block Grants program funds, State DCF, and private donations. Specific services and in-kind support are provided in collaboration with key local organizations such as Miami Children’s Hospital Dental Clinic and the Reach Out and Read Program, local pediatricians and The University of Miami early intervention program, and private donations.

Impact / Results

100% of the children served leave with a medical and dental home. 100% of children have received the necessary developmental framework and leave the program with referrals and linkages to continue their developmental progress. According to the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL), pre- and post-test results show that 89% of the children between ages 1 and 5 leave the program with improved resiliency levels.

Agency Contact Information

Agency Name:The Village South, Inc.
City, StateMiami, FL
General Phone Number:305-573-3784
Website URL: