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Florida's legislators show their priorities: more $ for hometowns than at-risk kids

In the wake of a bloody year for Florida youngsters, lawmakers have pledged to repair the state’s frayed safety net for abused and neglected children.

But as the state’s annual legislative session winds toward the final gavel, many children’s advocates say legislative leaders have failed to match their words with action and fear some proposals may create new problems.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed spending $39 million to hire 400 “boots on the ground,” or child abuse investigators who will respond to hotline reports and identify at-risk kids. But investigators typically work with a family for 60 days or less, and then families in need of follow-up help are sent to privately run local agencies.

Those agencies, the governor says, don’t need new money. The agencies counter that if the governor’s plan goes through, their already-backlogged caseloads will swell and families will compete for the services they need to keep children safe. They are asking for $25.4 million more.

“If we get the words right on paper but not do the funding for services, we may actually do some damage,” said Kurt Kelly, president of the Florida Coalition for Children, which represents the state’s community-based-care providers. “There will be such an influx of children in need of services, and we will not have the resources to serve them.”

Florida lawmakers will devote the next two weeks to making choices about how to spend $1.3 billion in new revenue as they craft a record $75 billion state budget. The first drafts show that legislators’ pet projects account for more new money than at-risk kids. Story here.

Here is our interactive graphic. To get a list of some of the proposed projects, click on the + sign.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/20/4069778/florida-budgets-put-priority-on.html#storylink=cpy

Comments

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Can't take anymore

No one can honestly be surprised that the blowhards in the Florida Legislature left the kids hanging so they could grandstand for the home folks. They don't mind slashing the child welfare budget in lean years but cannot muster the where with all to restore that funding in years of revenue surpluses. Some real statesmen, aren't they?

ed jenkins

The citizens have already decided and set up charities for children and have no interest in having heartless government bureaucrats look after the well being of troubled children when caring charities and churches will do a better job. As a result they want none of their money to be confiscated by governments in the name of helping children when they know that will not be the case. They see the only roles they want their city and state governments to play is in settling disputes among individuals and providing roads and other items that would not be provided due to the free rider problem.

Can't take anymore

Ed, you are living proof that the State of Florida is 49th in spending for mental health services.

Can't take anymore

Ed, you are living proof that the State of Florida is 49th in spending for mental health services.

Can't take anymore

Ed, you are living proof that the State of Florida is 49th in spending for mental health services.

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