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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Florida DCF Making Strides In Foster Care Issues

The Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) has made strides of late, both in recognizing the need for — and furthering its protections of — children in the state’s foster care program.

But it has much to do and still farther to go. In a story, DCF Report Rips Way Kids Get Meds by the Fort Myers News-Press, Stan Appelbaum, chairman of the Local Advocacy Council for mental health, said “I’m not a happy camper with the way medications are being used. The first thing that I’d take away from this review is that it’s not a perfect system.” The article also called medicating children in state care an “unregulated, haphazard process in which drugs are prescribed to help caregivers calm difficult children instead of treating them,” according to an initial state review.

As the Miami Herald recently reported: A panel found that “Florida’s mental health system for foster kids relies far too often on drugs, with little oversight, according to a draft report on the suicide of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers.” Read the full article here. (more…)

Guardian ad Litem Takes Moderate Cut In Tough Budget Year. Many Florida Foster Children Will Lose Their Voice in Court

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program emerged from this year’s Legislative budget process with fiscal cuts not as deep as originally feared.

The program’s funding will be reduced by $2.81 million. Proposed cuts were $7.6 million in the Florida House of Representatives, and $2.6 million in the Florida Senate.

In the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Appropriations Act, the Florida Legislature will reduce the Guardian Ad Litem Program by $3.817 million, and then reinstate $1 million in non-recurring money. Therefore, if the Legislature does nothing for FY 2010-2011, the GAL will be cut by $1 million.

There were no simple or pleasant solutions. This was the toughest budgetary year many people have ever seen. Although advocates stepped in quickly to help negotiate a balanced approach to this tough budgetary call, many foster children will be left without Guardians.

But make no mistake: The cuts span the spectrum of child services. (more…)

Auto Tag Drives the Message Home: Florida Kids Deserve Justice

January 15th, 2009   No Comments   Funding

kidsdeservejustice_plateIf you believe in supporting the justice needs of Florida’s kids, drive the message home.

Order the KIDS DESERVE JUSTICE specialty Florida license plate today or at your regular renewal time. The $25 plate cost is a charitable contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation. Every dollar goes to supporting grants for children’s legal services.

The Kids Deserve Justice specialty license plate funds free legal services to low-income children in Florida, helping them reach their full potential. Examples of these services include legal representation for abused and neglected children, legal help for children transitioning out of foster care or legal assistance for children needing special education testing or access to health care.

No administrative costs will be deducted by The Florida Bar Foundation.

For assistance or information, contact Shannon Stankiewicz at KDJ@flabarfndn.org.

Support Florida’s kids by driving the message home today!

Message to Florida Legislators: Protect the Children

January 5th, 2009   No Comments   Funding

This is an editorial from today’s Ft. Myers News Press. As the Florida Legislature begins a special session, the needs of certain residents should be kept far from the chopping block…

Legislators seeking ways to save money should save the children and spare  the most vulnerable residents from cuts.

That’s our mantra as the Florida Legislature begins a challenging two-week special session today to plug a gaping $2.3 billion shortfall in the current  budget.

With the economy blowing holes in the spending plans of every government, business, family and organization in the country, it’s with great reluctance  that we urge any spending program be kept off the cutting table.

But we do so for child protective services, mostly under the Department of Children and Families-and we urge you to contact our leaders in Tallahassee and do the same.

It’s not that education, health, law enforcement, roads, seniors and the environment aren’t essential service areas. They are, but the protection of vulnerable children cannot be diminished or postponed until the economy recovers. It’s a society’s most basic moral responsibility, as we see it. (more…)