Dan Webster, one of the most respected former legislators, came to lobby (unofficially, folks) his former colleagues today in public. It wasn’t on behalf of a big player in the budget, like an insurer, but instead for a child-abuse prevention program called Healthy Families, which he helped start as speaker of the Florida House more than a decade ago.
After getting as round of applause from the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, Webster spoke against the $27.4 million cut that eliminates the voluntary program, which uses volunteers who go into homes at risk for abuse. Webster said it has a 98 percent success rate (in part because its voluntary), and it saves money. Instead of the state spending $65,000 a year on taking a child out of an abusive home, this program helps stop the abuse in the home for about $1,600 annually.
Webster, at the front of the Republican takeover of the Legislature in the 90s, said Healthy families sticks to core conservative principles.
“Is this less government? Yes it is,” he said. “Does it promote less taxes? Yes it does…. Does it empower the family? No doubt….. We as a state can try to be parents. But real parents are the best parents.”