Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget proposes $3.1 billion for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to continue carrying out the agency’s mission to keep vulnerable children and families safe, support adoptive families, and expand and improve community behavioral health services. This funding will also support Florida’s response to the national opioid crisis impacting families and communities across the state.
Governor Scott said, “The safety of Florida’s families has always been a top priority in our state and these investments included in the Securing Florida’s Future Budget will continue to enhance support for the services DCF provides to Floridians and communities. We are making critical investments to support those struggling with opioid addiction. The individuals struggling with drug use are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends, and it is crucial that we remain committed to doing all we can to ensure they have the support and services they need. The investments in this year’s budget also serve to further strengthen our commitment to protecting children by helping with retention and workload of Florida’s Child Protective Investigators and Florida Abuse Hotline counselors. I look forward to working with the Legislature to support this funding as we continue to work together to keep vulnerable children safe.”
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “Protecting the vulnerable is the core of our mission. DCF works diligently with our partners to promote strong and healthy families. Governor Scott’s proposed budget shows his commitment to Florida’s most vulnerable citizens and the importance of providing resources to allow DCF to ensure the health and safety of Florida’s families. It only takes one caring adult to change the life of a child and investing in our children today creates a hopeful and prosperous tomorrow.”
Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget includes:
- $10 million investment for an additional 130 Child Protective Investigator (CPI) positions and Florida Abuse Hotline counselors within the Florida Department of Children and Families. This investment will address retention and workload statewide as these individuals continue to focus on keeping vulnerable children safe;
- $10.4 million for the Community-Based Care Lead Agencies to maintain funding for dependency case management positions to support increasing out-of-home care caseloads of case managers;
- $2.2 million to expand the existing continuum of care for victims of human trafficking;
- $2.2 million for maintenance adoption subsidies, which provides funding for the families of children who are adopted from foster care to receive the services they need. This is an increase over current year funding, resulting in a nearly $200 million investment;
- $27 million for year two of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant for medication-assisted treatment and support and prevention services;
- $15 million to enhance substance abuse service capacity statewide, including increasing outpatient, aftercare, recovery support, residential, and medication-assisted treatment;
- $2.8 million to create three new Forensic Multidisciplinary Teams to serve individuals with mental illnesses who are charged with non-violent felony offenses or are at-risk of being charged with a non-violent felony offense;
- $2.2 million to implement Coordinated Specialty Care treatment programs targeting youth and young adults ages 15-30 with early serious mental illness.
Jessica Pryce, Director, Florida Institute of Child Welfare, said, “We are continually grateful that the Governor puts the interests and safety of Florida’s children at the forefront of Florida’s priorities. This budget will facilitate an increase in essential services to vulnerable children and adoptive families, including vital support to the child protection workforce.”
Mark Fontaine, Executive Director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, said, “I applaud Governor Scott for his efforts in the proposed budget to provide additional resources to expand substance abuse treatment and recovery support services. This funding is critical to combat the devastating impact of the widespread opioid epidemic affecting individuals, families, and communities across our state.
Melanie Brown-Woofter, Interim President of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, said, “Early intervention and treatment for mental illnesses is crucial in meeting the behavioral health needs of communities. Governor Scott’s budget reflects the need for these services, further demonstrating his commitment to Florida’s families.”
Kurt Kelly, CEO, Florida Coalition for Children said, “The Governor has put forth a budget that strives toward a brighter future for all Floridians. The agencies and individuals charged with caring for Florida’s children and youth look forward to working with the Governor and the Florida Legislature to ensure our system of care has what it needs to protect children and families in Florida.”