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

February 18th, 2010   No Comments   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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