Child Safety

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBSM) recognizes that making the best possible match between a Little and a Big is critical to the growth and development of a child or teen. However, BBBSM also recognizes the importance of safety for all children and teens, which is why youth safety is our number one priority! We, therefore, start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs in accordance with Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence requirements. These include:

  • Completion of a formal written application
  • Background and reference checks
  • In-person interview
  • Orientation and training that…
    • Outlines the individualized needs of your child
    • Provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s development

You can review the full process to become a Big here.

BBBSM also provides you and your child with child safety tips, and we welcome your questions and feedback. For the entire duration of the match, your Program Specialist will regularly be in touch with you, your child, and your child’s Big – allowing us to support the development of a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future successes.


Why get a Big?

Bigs serve many purposes. Sometimes, a child just needs an additional role model and sometimes, a child is affected by a certain event and does not know how to cope. Many times, a non-parent role model provides a trusted source in which Littles can confide.

Will I be replaced by my child’s Big?

Definitely not! A Big acts as a non-parent mentor and third-party role model. Bigs are there for Littles as a supplement to parents, not as a replacement.

What mentoring options do I have for my child?

We offer a variety of programming, including one-to-one mentoring – offered in the community, in schools across Miami-Dade County, or at one of our School to Work partner sites – as well as Group Engagement & Mentoring. The type of program in which your child will be enrolled depend on his or her age, school, and needs.

How long will my child’s Big be around?

The duration of the mentoring relationship depends completely on your child, you, and your child’s Big. We ensure that all parties involved are aware that the lasting impact of mentoring takes place at the 12-month mark and that the longer the relationship lasts, the greater the positive effects. Program Specialists provide bonding opportunities and support to facilitate long-lasting relationships.

How frequently will they meet?

Depending on the program in which your child participates, he/she will meet with his/her Big once a month to once a week. The frequency, time, location, duration, and activities involved in a mentoring session will vary based on the program. For Bigs in Schools, Bigs visit the Littles’ school at a time that does not disrupt the Littles’ education. For community-based mentoring, all the details are flexible, and it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to coordinate mentoring sessions with the Little’s Big. For School to Work, Littles will be transported from school to his/her Big’s place of work for job shadowing opportunities and career development programming. The minimum meeting requirements for each program are:

  • Community-based – twice a month, for at least four hours each time, in the community
  • Site-based – once a week, for at least one hour, on school property or at the Carnival Center for Excellence
  • School to Work – one morning per month at your child’s mentor’s place of work
  • Group Engagement & Mentoring – depends on the schedule you set with BBBSM staff, but generally once a week at the Carnival Center for Excellence

These are just the minimum requirements, and we encourage more frequent meetings when available. For the programs that meet less frequently, Bigs are expected to keep in touch with their Littles between meetings – essential for developing a bond.

What if I have a problem with my child’s Big?

We thoroughly screen every Big to ensure this does not happen. However, on the off chance that it does, reach out to your assigned Program Specialist to express your concerns. Program Specialists are trained social workers who will check in with you on a regular basis to ensure everything is going smoothly. They will also provide opportunities for your child to develop a bond with his or her Big, such as group events and tickets to sporting events.

How long does it take to get a Big?

We typically have a waitlist of hundreds of Littles waiting to be matched with a Big. However, that does not mean that your child won’t be matched until every child enrolled before yours is matched with a Big. Program Specialists evaluate personalities and interests of both Bigs and Littles to determine a good fit for a lasting and effective relationship. Depending on your child’s needs, finding a Big can take anywhere from three months to a year. We actively establish new partnerships and recruit new Bigs on an ongoing basis to fill the needs of our Littles and their families as quickly as possible.

I still have more questions. What do I do?

You can always reach out to us here. We are happy to answer any questions you have!

I want my child to have a Big. What do I do now?

Great! We are happy to welcome you and your child to the BBBSM family! Simply fill out an application here to get started. You will receive an email with next steps in the next few days.