Casa Valentina is an affordable housing and comprehensive wrap-around services program for youth transitioning from foster care to independent living in Miami, Florida. We serve young women, young men, and young mothers in three separate programs.
Since we opened our doors in October 2006, Casa Valentina has served almost 60 young women in our residential program. We supported an additional 20 through our non-residential program for youth transitioning from foster care in Miami Gardens, an area with a disproportionately high number of foster youth. This program took place from 2009-2010. Emmaus Place – our collaboration with Camillus House and Our Kids, serving young men aging out of foster care – houses seven young men. And our new initiative for mothers transitioning to independence serves six young women and their babies.
Residents in all three of our programs must be enrolled in school – high school, college, a GED program, a vocational/certificate program, etc. – and making progress toward their educational goals. This makes them eligible for the State of Florida’s Road to Independence scholarship, which provides former foster youth with a monthly stipend of about $850, if they are in school and passing their classes.
Other criteria for admission are:
- Aging out or aged out of foster care
- 18-22 years old
- Drug free
- Demonstrate the capacity to live independently
- For our young women’s program: Not pregnant, and no children
Casa Valentina receives client referrals from the foster care case management agencies, other organizations and individuals working with foster youth, and our residents themselves. They are they best ambassadors for our program, and often suggest that their friends consider Casa Valentina when leaving the dependency system.
Youth can stay at Casa Valentina for one to three years, based on their individual needs. Once they leave our residential program, they can continue to receive support and services through our aftercare program.