Inside South FloridaDoing Good


Preventing Child Abuse and Empowering Families: A Conversation with Kids in Distress

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 06, 2024

Mark D. Dhooge, the President & CEO of Kids in Distress, recently appeared on Inside South Florida to shed light on the organization's tireless efforts in providing essential services for children and families, ranging from foster care and adoption to early childhood education and community-based support.

“Our mission is to prevent child abuse, preserve the family and provide treatment to children who are impacted by abuse and neglect,” emphasized Dhooge. The organization operates on three foundational pillars: foster care, early childhood education, and community-based services, all aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable children.

Within their foster care program, Kids in Distress prioritizes the safety and stability of children, maintaining rigorous standards for foster parents while also providing comprehensive training and certification for early childhood educators. Dhooge highlighted the recent establishment of a new family support center in Miami Shores, further expanding their reach and impact within the community.

An annual highlight for Kids in Distress is their Duck Fest Derby, now in its 18th year, which serves as a vital fundraiser for child abuse prevention and foster care initiatives. Dhooge enthusiastically described the event, where thousands of rubber duckies race down the New River in Fort Lauderdale, offering participants the chance to adopt a duck for $5 and potentially win a cash prize of $10,000.

For those interested in learning more about Kids in Distress and supporting their vital work in preventing child abuse and supporting families, visit

This segment on Inside South Florida is sponsored by Demesmin & Dover Law Firm.