Securing a Healthy Future for Florida

Since taking office, Governor Scott has fought relentlessly to ensure the health of Florida families and protect patients against medical price gouging. The Securing Florida’s Future budget continues Florida’s work to combat the national opioid epidemic, bolstering community-based care including mental health services, supporting Floridians with developmental disabilities, strengthening Florida’s child welfare system and adoption services to protect children and caring for Florida’s seniors. Governor Scott knows that raising a family begins with ensuring good health and the Securing Florida’s Future budget makes important investments that will keep Florida families healthy for years to come.

Combatting the National Opioid Epidemic
On May 3, 2017 Governor Scott directed a statewide public health emergency for the opioid epidemic allowing the state to immediately draw down more than $27 million in federal grant funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Opioid State Targeted Response Grant. This critical funding was awarded to Florida on April 21, 2017 to provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services. The order also ensured that first responders have immediate access to lifesaving drugs to respond to opioid overdoses.

Governor Scott is continuing his commitment to do everything possible to support Florida’s communities in the fight against the national opioid epidemic. The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides $53 million to support Florida’s fight against opioids which includes: $15 million for enhancements to the substance abuse system of care. This funding will provide for 53 additional residential treatment beds, outpatient treatment and case management, emergency room treatment and follow up, peer recovery support services and targeted outreach for pregnant women with substance abuse disorders; $5 million for Naloxone for first responders; $27 million in federal funding from the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant; $1.2 million to enhance the Prescription Drug Monitoring System; and More than $885,000 for handheld narcotic analyzers for the Florida Highway Patrol to keep officers in the field safe.

Additionally, through the Securing Florida’s Future budget, Governor Scott continues his support to ensure local communities have the resources they need to respond to emerging crime trends, specifically related to the opioid crisis. As part of Governor Scott’s $53 million investment to combat the opioid epidemic in Florida, the Securing Florida’s Future budget provides $4 million to the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council, which provides financial assistance to local law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations related to opioid abuse.

Recommendations in the Securing Florida’s Future budget to address the national opioid epidemic in Florida are complemented by legislation Governor Scott proposed to limit the chance of drug addiction, reduce the ability for dangerous drugs to spread in Florida’s communities and give vulnerable Floridians the support they need.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Governor Scott knows that supporting Floridians with mental illness begins with investing in a comprehensive system which aligns services to meet the needs of these individuals in their communities. The Securing Florida’s Future budget continues the state’s investment of more than $1 billion in funding to better coordinate mental health and substance services in Florida’s communities and continues to build on the best management practices based on the Executive Order 15-175 signed by Governor Scott in July 2015.

Additional funding to address the behavioral health needs include: Nearly $3 million for the expansion of three new community multidisciplinary teams and housing support located in Leon, Polk and Pinellas counties to provide behavioral, medical and housing assistance for non-violent offenders with behavioral health needs; More than $2 million for three new coordinated specialty care treatment teams located in Duval, Hillsborough and Orange counties targeting youth and young adults ages 15-30 with serious mental illnesses, especially first episode psychosis with an emphasis on facilitating a stable living environment; More than $9.7 million to continue competitively awarding central receiving system programs. These facilities assess, evaluate, treat and triage individuals with behavioral health needs serving as a single point of entry for individuals needing evaluation and stabilization; and More than $7 million to make improvements to and ensure ADA and life-safety compliance at state mental health treatment facilities.

Supported Employment for Floridians with Behavioral Health Needs and Persons with Disabilities
Supported employment services is an important step toward independent living. That’s why Governor Scott continues his commitment to supported employment services for those with behavioral health needs and persons with disabilities. The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides $2 million to the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide employment services to approximately 1,200 individuals with behavioral health needs and those with developmental disabilities who are ready to work.

Protecting Florida’s Children Through Investments in the Child Welfare System
The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests nearly $1.3 billion in total funding for Florida’s Child Welfare System to provide services to vulnerable children. Governor Scott believes that every child deserves a bright future and that we must do everything we can to ensure that all children are given the best opportunity to live happy, healthy lives.

The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests more than $10 million for an additional 130 Child Protective Investigator and Florida Abuse Hotline Counselor positions. Under Governor Scott, the number of CPIs has increased by nearly 300 and the number of by Florida Abuse Hotline counselors has increased by nearly 50. These positions will help reduce workload and provide greater protection to vulnerable children. In 2012, Governor Scott approved a pay raise for child protective investigators which boosted pay by more than $3,700 per employee. Governor Scott is also recommending an investment of an additional nearly $30 million to provide core services to children who depend on Florida’s child welfare system and funding for non-relative care givers and foster parents of youth. The Securing Florida’s Future budget also provides $60 million in funding for seven counties where local sheriff’s offices around the state conduct child protective investigator services.

Supporting the Adoption of Florida’s Children in Foster Care
Governor Scott has advocated for adoption and adoptive families during his entire time in office. This year, he is recommending more than $198 million, a more than $2 million increase over current year funding, for maintenance adoption subsidies which provide funding for the families of children who are adopted from foster care to receive the services they need. This funding will also provide critical post adoption services for more than 37,000 children. Since taking office, Governor Scott has championed investments for the adoption of more than 20,000 children from Florida’s child welfare system.

Combatting Human Trafficking
The Securing Florida’s Future budget invests an additional more than $2 million in new funding for the expansion of human trafficking services by expanding in-home treatment through community wraparound service teams, specialized therapeutic foster care and emergency beds. Since Governor Scott took office, more than $37 million has been invested in combatting human trafficking in Florida.

Caring for Florida’s Seniors
The Securing Florida’s Future budget includes $9 million in new funding to serve frail individuals on the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, Home Care for the Elderly and Community Care for the Elderly Program waiting list. This funding will enroll approximately 264 individuals on the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative to provide respite services and support to caregivers. This recommendation will serve approximately 607 individuals on Community Care for the Elderly waiting list and approximately 268 individuals on the Home Care for the Elderly waiting list to provide support to seniors to ensure they can remain in their home as long as possible.

Caring for Those in Crisis on the APD Waiting List
The Securing Florida’s Future budget provides more than $18 million to add approximately 900 individuals who are in crisis into the APD waiver program. This is the sixth year that Governor Scott has provided funding to enroll individuals into the APD waiver program to help them live, learn and work in their communities.