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HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Governor DeSantis has worked to prioritize the needs of all Floridians and hopes that all are able to lead long, healthy and productive lives. The Governor also understands the importance of helping our state’s most vulnerable who are unable to help themselves. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes an increase in funding for child welfare, funding for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the Governor’s budget includes funding to help fight the opioid epidemic and to assist Florida’s veterans.

Child Welfare

The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget invests $97.6 million to provide funding for services to children and families who receive services through Florida’s child welfare system. The budget invests $21.8 million for incentives for state employees who adopt children from the child welfare system and for maintenance adoption subsides to support post-adoption services for children who are adopted from foster care.

Included in this investment is $75.7 million for improving accountability and enhancing quality within the child welfare system to help drive decisions to improve outcomes for children and families receiving services. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes a funding model for the Community Based Care system of care; safety management services; support for foster care parents who serve as caregivers for children who have been removed from their home; early intervention efforts for substance affected infants; and additional legal staff who assist in expediting permanency for children who are in out of home care.

Additionally, the budget supports multidisciplinary staffing teams to provide behavioral health expertise for children under the age of five who are in out-of-home care and funding for the Florida Abuse Hotline to better triage calls through a Differential Response System.

Opioid Epidemic

Governor DeSantis is committed to continuing to support the fight against the national opioid epidemic by working with local partners and families affected by this crisis to ensure the needs of individuals struggling with opioid addiction are met. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget recommends $54.8 million in total funding to fight the opioid epidemic in Florida and invests $12.4 million in funding from the State Opioid Response Grant to address the opioid crisis by providing evidence-based prevention, medication-assisted treatment and recovery.

The budget provides $8.7 million in funding to the Department of Health through the Overdose Data to Action grant to enhance drug overdose surveillance and to pilot prevention strategies to reduce overdoses.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget provides an additional $17.6 million in funding to support individuals with behavioral health needs. The budget includes $9 million to expand the capacity of Community Action Teams (CAT) for children ages 11-21 with a mental health and/or substance abuse diagnosis and provide a family centered approach to allow individuals to be served in their community. The budget also includes $2.1 million in new funding for 24 additional forensic community transition beds to increase the capacity to serve individuals in a community-based setting.

The budget also includes $4 million to expand telehealth services to children in K-12 public schools in 27 additional counties and makes $2.5 million available for 211 providers based on an increase in capacity to handle call volume and to expand care coordination services.

Employment Opportunities

Providing assistance and connecting individuals with job opportunities is a priority for Florida. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes $1.7 million to serve approximately 1,200 individuals with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health needs. Additionally, $2.5 million is provided to assist approximately 1,000 veterans in mentoring, training and networking throughout the state of Florida.

Employment Opportunities

Providing assistance and connecting individuals with job opportunities is a priority for Florida. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes $1.7 million to serve approximately 1,200 individuals with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health needs. Additionally, $2.5 million is provided to assist approximately 1,000 veterans in mentoring, training and networking throughout the state of Florida.

Seniors

The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes $10 million in funding to enrich the needs of our seniors in the community. This investment creates a Dementia Care Coordinator to focus on building livable communities in Florida by enhancing quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and ending abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors. This funding provides services for individuals and caregivers who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and will allow an additional 250 individuals and their families to receive respite services. This funding will also allow an additional 590 individuals to receive adult day care and case management services through the Community Care for the Elderly Program and 240 individuals to receive support for medical services and supplies through the Home Care for the Elderly Program.

Public and Professional Guardianship

The budget provides $6.4 million in new funding to support the Office of Public and Professional Guardianship. Individuals in need of guardianship may have Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias, an intellectual disability, chronic mental illness or other conditions that limits their ability to make important personal and financial decisions. This funding supports professional guardianship investigative services and establishes a professional guardian monitoring tool to ensure compliance of private guardians. Additionally, an increase in funding is included to serve individuals in the public guardianship program. This increase in guardianship funding will help ensure the legal rights of older Floridians are protected and will help eliminate abuse, neglect and exploitation of Florida’s elderly population.

Veterans

As a veteran, Governor DeSantis knows the importance of honoring and caring for those who have served our country in the United States military. The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget includes funding for staff and start-up operations at two new state veteran nursing homes. The budget invests $18.2 million for the completion of the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home in St. Lucie County and the Lake Baldwin State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Orange County.

The budget invests $6.1 million for 48 positions to complete the required staffing necessary for the Ardie R. Copas State Veterans’ Nursing Home and $12.1 million for 40 positions to complete the required staffing and repairs necessary for the Lake Baldwin State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Orange County. Additionally, the budget recommends $6.7 million for capital improvements, equipment updates and 16 additional nursing staff for Florida’s existing state veteran nursing homes.

Person with Disabilities

The Bolder, Brighter, Better Future budget provides $38.4 million in funding for a new level of reimbursement for Intermediate Care Facilities to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities who have severe behavioral needs. Also included is funding to continue the development of a new client assessment tool, which will be used to collect more comprehensive data and more accurately determine the needs of clients.

The budget invests $56.5 million to allow an additional 1,200 individuals in crisis to be served through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver program. The budget also includes $239 million for services that have been provided by the agency in previous fiscal years. By funding the Agency for Persons Disabilities waiver program, people with intellectual disabilities will be able to live, learn and work in their communities.