Governor Rick Scott today signed Executive Order 18-81 directing the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enhance collaboration with law enforcement offices in each Florida county to improve the coordination of behavioral health services for individuals in need. Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Governor Scott convened emergency meetings with education officials, mental health experts and law enforcement to develop strategies to make our schools safer and improve mental health treatment services in Florida. Today’s Executive Order complements the provision established in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026) which increases the sharing of information between sheriff’s offices, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), DCF, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and any community behavioral health providers to better coordinate services and provide prevention or intervention strategies. Read more about the new law, signed by Governor Rick Scott on March 9th, HERE.
Governor Scott said, “After the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I met with legislators, members of law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, mental health experts, and state agency leadership to find solutions which make sure our schools and communities are safe. Last month, I proposed a major action plan, and then signed into law the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act to protect our schools, bolster out state’s mental health system of care and keep guns away from dangerous people. Today, to enhance the policies I just signed into law, I am using my executive authority to make sure we are supporting those most in need while protecting Florida families.
“In issuing this executive order, I have directed DCF to closely collaborate with local sheriffs’ offices and police chiefs in each county to further increase communication between these agencies and increase access to substance abuse and mental health services in every community. My goal is to ensure DCF is integrated in every local department, so we have a person working hand-in-hand with law enforcement and dedicated solely to being a crisis welfare worker focused on repeat cases in each community. We will continue ensure that all Floridians have the opportunity to get the treatment they need.”
The Executive Order takes five major steps:
- Directs DCF to convene quarterly meetings in each of DCF’s six regions with sheriffs and police chiefs in the region, the behavioral health managing entities and service providers, school officials, and other stakeholders to improve communication, collaboration, and the coordination of services;
- Mandates DCF, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and sheriffs’ offices to improve cost sharing and integration of funding;
- Allows DCF to include sheriffs’ offices and local law enforcement agencies as eligible recipients of the criminal justice reinvestment grants;
- Directs DCF and the managing entities to ensure sheriffs or their designee have a seat on each managing entities’ board of directors; and
- Establishes enhanced collaboration between DCF, managing entities, and sheriffs’ offices to ensure access to mental health and substance abuse treatment services for those released from county jails.
To view Executive Order 18-81, click HERE.