Under fire, Miami-Dade nursing home closing its pediatric unit

A Miami Gardens nursing home linked to the deaths of two youngsters is closing its 60-bed children’s unit, the epicenter of a bitter dispute over Florida’s system of care for profoundly sick and disabled children. About a week ago, Golden Glades Nursing & Rehabilitation Center informed state health administrators of its plan to shut down the harshly criticized pediatric unit. The facility was housing about 30 children late last year, although the number had since dropped to 19, said Lori Weems, a lawyer for Golden Glades’ owners. “We have been aware of the facility’s plan to close the pediatric wing for a few weeks. Various staff from the agency have been assisting them and our nurse care coordinators are working with families,” said Michelle Dahnke, spokeswoman for the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA). “Ultimately the transition location for the child will be determined by the parent and we want to ensure they are fully informed.”

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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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