Governor Ron DeSantis this week announced his Framework for Freedom Budget, which will provide an additional $42.6 million in funding to enhance Florida’s juvenile justice system. These unprecedented investments will provide for high-quality, effective services and infrastructure enhancements within the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to create better opportunities for youth and build a stronger, safer Florida.
“Governor DeSantis’ proposed Framework for Freedom Budget illustrates his steadfast commitment to Florida’s youth and families while bolstering public safety,” said DJJ Secretary Eric Hall. “I want to thank our Governor for his determined leadership and support of DJJ’s commitment to service excellence and his dedication to making certain that Florida’s juvenile justice system remains the best in the nation.”
Highlights from Governor DeSantis’ Framework for Freedom Budget include:
- $12 million for the Florida Scholars Academy, a unified education system within DJJ’s residential programs that will create efficiencies, reduce educational disruptions, and standardize the quality of educational services to heighten academic achievement and promote post-secondary success for students in DJJ’s care and custody.
- $19.2 million in funding for DJJ contracted providers to improve recruitment and retention efforts.
- $17.2 million to provide pay increases for contracted direct care, support, medical, and mental health staff within DJJ’s residential programs.
- $1.95 million to provide pay increases for the Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services (CINS/FINS) providers.
- $34.9 million to fund the fixed capital outlay needs of DJJ’s 669 buildings statewide. This funding will provide for necessary repairs, maintenance, and improvements to ensure the health and safety of the youth in the department’s care as well as the staff who serve them.
- This includes $5.6 million to fund first-year pre-construction services related to the site planning and design of three new juvenile detention centers.
- $2.4 million to increase rates for comprehensive evaluations which will allow DJJ to remain competitive in the marketplace for assessments completed by licensed mental health professionals. These evaluations assist in the determination of proper placement and treatment for a youth’s unique needs.
“Governor DeSantis is a proven leader and champion for Florida’s families and communities. His proposed budget will provide even more opportunities for youth to have a second chance at success. I want to thank Governor DeSantis for supporting our young people and investing in their growth as they work to become our future leaders,” saidPresident and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League and Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention State Advisory Group Chair Glenton Gilzean, Jr.
“Governor DeSantis’ commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of our state’s most vulnerable children will transform lives. By increasing funding to attract and retain well-trained staff in communities throughout Florida, these passionate professionals can provide critical intervention and support for more children in need. On behalf of everyone devoted to helping each child enjoy the opportunity to dream and thrive, I want to thank the Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis for their incredible support,” said President & CEO of the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services Stacy Gromatski.
“I commend Governor DeSantis and his vision for Florida’s future. Our state’s juvenile justice system serves as a national model for others and Governor DeSantis’ budget shows a continued investment in Florida’s youth and those who serve them. This comprehensive approach works to ensure positive outcomes for our kids while also increasing public safety in our communities,” said Florida Juvenile Justice Association Executive Director Christian Minor.