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Gov. Crist 2010 Budget Boosts Funding for Florida Children, Families, Foster Kids and Aged-Out Graduates

February 18th, 2010   1 Comment   Foster Care, Funding

At a time when tough economics call for fiscal belt-tightening across the state, Gov. Charlie Crist this year has shown tremendous resolve and vision.

This year, the Governor has recommended $77.5 million to support a variety of Florida Department of Children and Families initiatives designed to protect current foster children and those graduating out of care.

Attorneys, guardians, advocates and others who provide legal representation for these citizens laud the governor for his recommendations.

According to a document from the DCF, the governor’s budget proposals are anticipated to protect critical services for vulnerable Floridians.

“We are grateful that Governor Charlie Crist places such a high priority on continuing DCF’s progress in increasing adoptions of children in foster care, keeping children and families together and safe from abuse, preventing domestic violence and homelessness, and providing treatment for mental illness and substance abuse,” noted DCF Secretary George H. Sheldon.

“At a time of great need for human services during the economic downturn, our Department employees are providing essential services,” Sheldon said. “As a result, Governor Crist is recommending a one-time $500 bonus for the 4,600 employees in DCF’s ACCESS program, who are helping the 2.5 million Floridians receiving food stamps.”

The proposed recommendation for Fiscal Year 2010-11 funds the following Department priorities:

Helping vulnerable children and youth who are leaving foster care:

Adoption Subsidies: $25.8 million for monthly subsidies to families who have adopted children from foster care. More than 10,000 children have been adopted from foster care in the last three years.

Independent Living: $5 million for services to young adults aging out of foster care at 18 to help their transition to adulthood.

Child Welfare Training: $1.1 million for training child protective investigators responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. Providing critical services to help children and families achieve safety, recovery and self-sufficiency:

Cash Assistance to Families: $21.6 million to help the growing number of people who have lost jobs and have little or no income.

Domestic Violence Services: $4.9 million to provide services to families affected by domestic violence and expand domestic violence shelters at a time when deadly domestic violence incidents are increasing.

Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Family Safety and Preservation Services: $15.6 million to continue projects protecting children from abuse and neglect and keeping more families together.

Community Mental Health Programs: $7.5 million for treatment of children and adults with mental illness as an alternative to placement in more expensive treatment programs.

Substance Abuse Community Programs: $2.7 million to provide treatment to children and adults addicted to alcohol and drugs.

For additional details on the Governor’s recommended Fiscal Year 2010-11 budget, visit www.MyFlorida.com and click on “The People’s Budget,” or visit www.ThePeoplesBudget.state.fl.us

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One Response to “Gov. Crist 2010 Budget Boosts Funding for Florida Children, Families, Foster Kids and Aged-Out Graduates”

  1. After extensive research, I have determined the following:

    (1) Florida Statute 39.5085 was enacted in 1998.

    (2) The amount of payment was determined to be 70% of the amount parent to Foster Parents (per Kathleen Waters, a member of that panel).

    (3) Even though there has been subsequent increases in the amount paid to Foster Parents (an estimated 18.5%) THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A CORRESPONDING PAYMENT INCREASE FOR KIN CAREGIVERS.

    (4) This policy has continued through three governors administrations. Governor Crist, in my opinion, was never made aware of this situation and therefore has taken no action to remedy this highly discriminatory, potentially illegal, and certainly immoral policy of the State of Florida.

    (5) In 2005, the State of Florida completed its privatization of Foster Parents program. By its very nature, the organization assigned administrative responsibility did, in fact, lobby for and received payment increases to Foster Parents.

    (6) No oversight authority was assigned the responsibility of overseeing the payments for kin caregivers.

    (7) There is a definitive delineation between what is the letter of the law and what is the intent of the law. It is my opinion, based on the aforementioned extensive research, that the present Governor of the State of Florida has an option upon the receipt of this e-mail. Governor Crist can either ‘man-up’ and take responsibility for the aforementioned oversight of payments to kin caregivers or to ‘lawyer-up’ and enter a state of political denial. It is my hope and prayer that the Governor will consider the underpayment of approximately 150,000 children and their approximately 347,000 kin caregivers and restore the 70% balance and the possible underpayment over the past 12+ years of almost $1Billion dollars.

    Please contact me A.S.A.P. as to the Governor’s position on this issue.

    Respectfully,

    Clifford T. McRary

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