Project Start Off Smart (SOS) is an initiative of the Homestead Police Department that integrates law enforcement and human services personnel. The combination of services provides a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the community. This unique partnership is comprised of personnel from the Homestead Police Department (HPD), Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS), Department of Children & Families (DCF), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA), Governor’s Task Force: Domestic and Sexual Violence, Miami/Metro Dade Department of Human Services, Family Builders, M.U.J.E.R., WE CARE, and Homestead/Florida City Weed and Seed.
Project SOS works as a team to coordinate community services in the Homestead area. The approach used is to address the cause as well as the crime, resulting in a reduction of repeat offenses. By housing all agencies within the police department, a collaborative effort is created with the immediate implementation of services. In addition, monitoring and follow-up assures effectiveness and continuing support for our clients.
Project SOS accepts all referrals pertaining to residents of the Homestead area. The most frequent requests for assistance involve:
• CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT
• SEXUAL ABUSE/EXPLOITATION
• SUBSTANCE ABUSE
• DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
• UNGOVERNABLE CHILDREN
• MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
• ELDERLY ABUSE/NEGLECT
• MISSING/RUNAWAY CHILDREN
Once a referral is made, an assessment is completed, usually within forty-eight hours, and local services are provided.