The special children of PATCHES.

The special children of PATCHES.  

The PATCHES program is in the early process of moving to a new home in Florida City.

PATCHES is a facility that cares for medically complex children from birth to age 21. They are cared for 12 hours a day. It is a place that provides loving care for the children while their parents go to work or school. The children

cannot be cared for in a traditional day care setting. It serves 50 to 60 children Monday through Friday.

PATCHES is now in the process of building a new facility. It will be moving to a new location on five acres at the intersection of Southwest Seventh Street and 187th Avenue or Redland Road.

This land is now in an area considered unincorporated Miami-Dade County and Florida City wants to annex this land. Florida CIty Mayor Otis Wallace just signed an interlocal agreement that must be approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission.

“My goal is to help these kids. We are annexing land. A new campus for PATCHES will be built there,” said Wallace.

Most of the children being cared for at PATCHES have severe health and medical needs. A child might have autism and a heart condition. A parent might be struggling to care for a baby born prematurely that has also suffered a stroke. And that parent or parents must work to support the family.

The type of care provided by PATCHES is known as Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care (PPEC). They provide therapy and educational services to children.

Eventually, PATCHES is hoping to care for young adults who have aged out of PPEC services.

“We are in a rented space now and we are building a new facility. We are going to be opening a Pre-Kindergarten through third grade school to provide care for our special needs children,” said Kyle Smith, one of PATCHES founders, a Registered Nurse and an administrator.

PATCHES provides parents some peace of mind while they work. The program is staffed by health care professionals who are trained in the care of children with both sub-acute and chronic conditions. The center is fully equipped and staffed to accommodate children who require the support of ventilators, tracheotomies, oxygen therapy and feeding tubes. They may have other special needs. There are also supportive therapies such as respiratory care, educational programming and door-to-door transportation.

The care providers at PATCHES realize that the self-esteem and self-confidence of a child are brought about by encouragement, hugs and smiles. The program offers on onsite playground and daily enrichment programs. The goal is to help each child reach his or her potential in a safe and fun-filled, caring environment, according to organization’s website.

“Most of kids get better and leave the facility for regular school or daycare,” said Smith. “About 7 percent will be dependent on care always. By having them at a center like hours we eliminate social isolation, give them peer to peer support and a loving, caring environment.”

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