Governor Rick Scott today announced his Securing Florida’s Future budget, which invests an additional $42.1 million into Florida’s juvenile justice system for a total of $593.4 million. This funding will support the continuation of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) reform efforts and its core mission of reducing juvenile delinquency, increasing public safety, and providing the services at-risk youth and their families need in the coming years to transition youth back into their communities and guide them towards successful adulthood.
Governor Scott said, “Florida has made tremendous progress in reforming our juvenile justice system, with our state experiencing the lowest levels of juvenile arrests in more than forty years. The Securing Florida’s Future budget continues to invest in effective programs and services that have been proven to help our youth and their families. I am also proud to recommend a 10 percent pay raise for the recruitment and retention of detention and probation officers, who have the responsibility of working with youth in DJJ care.”
“Governor Rick Scott has remained steadfast in his dedication to transforming Florida’s juvenile justice system, and the Securing Florida’s Future budget demonstrates his unwavering support for providing the best outcomes for youth and for the thousands of dedicated staff who work to better the lives of those we serve,” said DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly. “I want to thank him for his leadership in recognizing the needs of our youth, families and staff, ensuring safer communities and a better Florida for us all.”
Highlights from Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget include:
$13 million to increase the number of available residential commitment treatment beds to ensure capacity for youth adjudicated to non-secure and secure residential commitment programs. Sufficient residential commitment treatment beds are necessary to ensure youth receive the required treatment to appropriately address their needs without undue delay.
$8 million in pay raises for juvenile probation and detention officers to support officer recruitment and retention and to reward these officers for their life changing work in the juvenile justice system. The State of Florida has more than 2,000 juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers who work around the clock to protect and rehabilitate Florida’s at-risk youth and keep families and communities safe.
$9 million to continue and expand evidence-based prevention programs. Effective prevention programs have been a critical component in improving the juvenile justice system in Florida. This funding will improve public safety by providing prevention programming to additional youth while also continuing funding levels for current services.
$11.6 million to provide the necessary repairs and maintenance of detention, probation, and residential facilities. This funding will support security improvement and life safety projects, electrical upgrades, and ensure proper compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
$317,150 for the establishment of the Office of Youth and Family Advocacy within the Office of the DJJ Secretary. The Office will serve as a firsthand resource working directly with youth and families to foster communication and amplify their voice in the ongoing improvement of the juvenile justice system. This Office will continue to enhance DJJ’s robust improvement measures and give youth and their families the advocates they need to be successful.
What they are saying…
Stacy Gromatski, President and CEO of the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, said, The Florida Network would like to thank Governor Scott for his continued focus on prevention and early intervention funding in the Securing Florida’s Future budget. Investing in prevention and early intervention programs, which also provide parenting support and skill development services for families, will keep even more children out of the juvenile justice system and on the path to becoming successful young adults.”
Christian Minor, Executive Director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, said, “Florida’s juvenile justice system serves as a national model for others and Governor Scott’s budget will keep our state at the forefront by providing for prevention, intervention, and residential treatment services. This comprehensive approach will help to effectively reach all youth that come into contact with our system and guide them in the right direction.”
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff said, “I applaud Governor Scott for including additional juvenile residential commitment treatment beds in his recommended budget, as well as the funds to ensure we have high quality, experienced staff to serve Florida’s youth and families. This funding demonstrates his commitment to public safety and to strengthening our communities.
To view the complete list of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations, CLICK HERE.