Governor DeSantis’ Florida Leads budget continues to support the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) ongoing transformation and work in enhancing child safety efforts, supporting foster and adoptive communities, helping Floridians who are facing economic hardship gain their version of economic self-sufficiency, expanding community capacity for substance abuse and mental health treatment, and increasing safety at the state mental health treatment facilities.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we are heading into 2021 with gained momentum to keep us moving toward our goal of increasing prevention contacts and decreasing the number of families in crisis,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “DCF continues making strides toward building resilient families and a stronger workforce. 2020 was a challenging year, but the department and our network of providers stayed ahead of the curve by successfully implementing innovative strategies to ensure services to Florida families were never compromised and that the critical work of this agency continued.”
The Governor’s Florida Leads budget bolsters support to the foster and adoptive communities, including subsidies for foster parents, funding for both the Guardianship Assistance Program and the State of Florida’s Adoption Assistance Program, which will ensure families caring for vulnerable children can afford living expenses for each child.
In 2020, DCF launched an initiative to increase support to Florida’s foster and adoptive communities, including a foster parent recruitment hotline, “Florida’s Foster Information Center,” and MyFloridaMyFamily, a resource hub designed to help families in need connect with organizations that are ready to help.
The Florida Leads budget:
Increases Child Safety
- Features a nearly $4 million for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act grant, which focuses on ensuring safety and well-being of infants and their families who have been prenatally affected by substance use.
Expands Community Capacity for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders
- Includes more than $119 million to support the State Opioid Response grant. The department will use the additional funds to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, reducing unmet treatment, and reducing overdose-related deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery support activities for opioid use disorder.
- Includes nearly $32 million for the federal Community Mental Health Block Grant. which will allow the state to expand capacity and increase services for adults with serious mental illness and children and adolescents with emotional disturbances.
Enhancing Safety and Expanding Capacity of State Mental Health Treatment Facilities
- Includes funding for safety upgrades to State Mental Health Treatment Facilities, such as fire alarm replacement and audio/video security surveillance systems in addition to funding for the medical care costs of residents at the State Mental Health Treatment Facilities and allows for the creation of Short-Term Residential Treatment Programs and Community Support Teams to expand prevention services and decrease the number of individuals in crisis.
During the last legislative session, Senate Bill 1326, also called the DCF Accountability Act, was a priority for the department. The bill was signed into law in July, codifying a number of policies to ensure that children and families are receiving high-quality care from both the department and their contracted providers.