Astrid M. Bismarck, Esq., Immediate Past President 2015
Paul A. Garcia, CPA/CFF CVA, President During 2013 and 2014
Anastasia M. Garcia, Esq., President During 2011 and 2012
Dear Board members:
As this was my last meeting today as your Board President, I would like to thank you for the honor you have bestowed upon me for the past 2 years in allowing me the opportunity to lead the Board. I am very proud of how we have grown and very proud of where we are going. I want to thank Bonnie for helping me at the beginning and for never turning her back on me when I had questions about the task of being President. I want to thank Dr. Firpi who originally recruited me to the Board and I want to thank Paul Garcia for agreeing to take on this awesome responsibility.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have had in meeting many people who are now Board members and who have become dear friends. I am convinced that if we all take on one main task and do it on behalf of our Board, we will continue to grow as we have for the past two years. It is challenging for us to do what we want to on behalf of KidSide because we all have such busy lives. Unlike many Boards I am familiar with where many of the members have more tiime on our hands than we do, we are a “working” Board where all of our members are otherwise employed. In an economic climate where many non-profits are suffering, Paul reported today that we have had our best fundraising year yet. Both the tennis tournament and Havana Nights had their best outcome this year. It is amazing that we have been able to do so much, even with the challenges we have faced.
I look forward to remaining on the Board and continuing to work with all of you in whatever way I can to make this a wonderful Board to be a part of.
My love to all of you and may all of you have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
The Law Office of Anastasia M. Garcia, P.A.
2100 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 980
Coral Gables, Florida, 33134
Phone: (305) 461-5885
Fax: (305) 461-3670
Bonnie Sockell-Stone, Esq., President During 2009 and 2010
We all know the story. Whether we are therapists, evaluators, family attorneys or Guardians ad Litem, we have seen the often devastating effects of high conflict divorce on children. Perhaps even more heartbreaking is watching children become victimized by severe parental conflict when their families do not have the necessary resources to obtain the assistance they need. The effects are always profound. They can be insidious, with children slowly developing a skewed notion of relationships and conflict that accompanies them for life. They can be dramatic and result in abuse, abduction and a myriad of other traumatic situations. It is precisely these children from highly conflicted families with limited resources that tend to fall through the cracks; their problems surfacing later in many aspects of their life: school, truancy, contacts with the law, alcohol and other drugs, anxiety, depression, relationship problems…not to mention the ones that suffer quietly and never come to anybody’s attention. Unfortunately we sometimes feel helpless because of the magnitude of the problem.
Fortunately, Family Court Services, with its highly dedicated staff has been producing great results and benefiting thousands of children and their families that would otherwise rarely receive services.
Family Court Services protects children in the court system from emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and from parents who abuse alcohol and drugs. With its unique, court-sanctioned ability to take on the highest conflict (and most time-consuming) cases and remove parenting and children’s issues from the adversarial context, Family Court Services has dramatically reduced our courts’ case loads, while providing for immediate stabilization of families. Its on-site services have become an essential resource to the Family Court, including supervised visitation, on-site drug and breathalyzer testing, crisis assistance, identification and referral to community based services, family reunification and parenting coordination. In essence, Family Court Services does everything possible to help parents re-focus their energies toward parenting their children more effectively and consistently rather than continuing the bitter conflict that jeopardizes their children’s well-being. Over 2,500 children benefitted from Family Court Services in year 2009-2010.
Unfortunately, Family Court Services is now threatened by budgetary cutbacks and diminishing resources. Limited financial resources have greatly reduced the number of judiciary referrals to Family Court Services despite the fact that demand for services continues to increase each year. Currently, judges can only refer 10 cases per month and general magistrates can only refer 5 per month.
KidSide, Inc. is a not for profit organization composed of attorneys, mental health professionals, members of the judiciary and others devoted to supporting Family Court Services. The recent limitation placed on judicial referrals due to lack of staff and resources is a grave concern and represents an urgent call for action to KidSide and all members of the community. This reduction is dangerous and critical for those families that will be excluded from services. The Judges are in a difficult position of having identified families that require immediate assistance and having no place to refer them. We need your help. I urge you to contribute to KidSide, Inc.
Bonnie Sockel-Stone, Esq. was President of the Board of Directors of KidSide during 2009-2010. She is an attorney practicing primarily in the area of family law with the firm of Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone 150 West Flagler Street PH II Miami, Florida 33130.