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Governor Scott’s 2015-2016 “Keep Florida Working” Budget Committed to Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Intervention

 

 

Contact:  Heather DiGiacomo

               Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

               (850) 717-2710

               heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

 

 

Governor Scott’s 2015-2016 “Keep Florida Working” Budget

Committed to Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Intervention

 

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced his 2015-2016 “Keep Florida Working” Budget that continues the commitment to Florida’s at risk youth and families.  The Governor’s “Keep Florida Working” Budget includes over $10 million in strategic reinvestment of funding for essential prevention and diversion programs, education and health services within the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). 

“Florida is leading the nation as an innovator in juvenile justice reform and we will continue our hard work in helping our state’s at risk and delinquent children and their families. Our commitment will help us keep our communities safer, and make Florida the best state in the nation to get a job and raise a family” said Governor Scott.      

“Governor Scott’s budget recommendations illustrate his commitment to not only reduce juvenile delinquency in our state but ensure that our youth receive the best care possible should they enter our system” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly.  “This comprehensive approach to juvenile justice will help turn around the lives of Florida’s troubled youth by providing them opportunities for enriched educational experiences and preparing them to join Florida's workforce."

More than two years ago, DJJ began its reform initiative with the implementation of the “Roadmap to System Excellence,” which outlines the agency’s strategic plan to allocate its resources to the most effective programs, services, and treatments at the most impactful points along the juvenile justice system of care. Under Governor Scott’s leadership, DJJ has worked to realign existing resources to more effective community-based interventions as well as increase the availability of transitional services such as vocational programming, employment, education, family support, transitional housing, and transportation.

DJJ reported in December that juvenile arrests were down another eight percent in Fiscal Year 2013-2014, resulting in the lowest juvenile arrest level in over 30 years.

The Governor’s juvenile justice recommendations also commit to Florida’s growing economy and preparing an educated workforce by dedicating additional resources to give youth that have entered the juvenile justice system a chance at success and the opportunity to join Florida’s strong job market.  Funding of $291,741 has been allocated for education and workforce development to assist students transitioning from residential commitment programs.  This funding will also assist local school districts in developing grant applications that provide student career development opportunities and offer technical assistance and problem resolution for at risk delinquent youth in DJJ education environments.

To ensure Florida’s standing as a leader in juvenile justice system reform, the “Keep Florida Working” Budget, also includes $850,000 to increase programs for girls statewide, such as the PACE program.  These services are offered outside of traditional education settings, and include life management curriculum, psychological counseling, health counseling, community service, and transition and placement services. 

Early onset of delinquency tends to predict a long and serious criminal career calling for programs and services for younger children and their families. This year, an additional $780,952 is being recommended to implement evidenced based, family focused intervention models designed for boys and girls ages 6-12 and their parents in locations around the state.  These programs will provide assessments, case management, and intensive behavioral modification as well as social skills training and parenting skills education. 

 Additional highlights of the recommended FY 2015-2016 Budget include:

  • $2.9 million to provide comprehensive health services at DJJ detention centers in all three regions (north, central, and south) of the state.  This funding will provide increased levels of clinical staffing, increased service hours, and an increase in the number of youth served. 
  • $5 million in funding to maintain and provide the necessary upkeep for maintenance and repair projects to protect the life, health and safety of both youth and staff in detention, probation and residential facilities. 
  • $735,840 to continue funding for juvenile assessment centers in Bay and Escambia counties
  • $202,500 to increase the length of stay and provide services for youth in the Domestic Violence Respite Care Program

 

  • Cathy Craig-Myers, Executive Director, Florida Juvenile Justice Association, said, “Florida is at the forefront in addressing the issue of juvenile delinquency through advanced prevention, intervention and treatment services. The Governor’s “Keep Florida Working” Budget provides not only for front end services which will keep our youth from entering the juvenile justice system but also assistance for youth in accessing career and training services to ensure that youth that do enter the system will have the tools they need to turn their lives around and be prepared to successfully enter the workforce.”

 

  • Mary Marx, President and CEO, Pace Center for Girls, said, “I am grateful to the Governor for his commitment to Florida’s girls and young women and for recognizing the importance of gender responsive services. The Governor’s Budget will allow PACE to expand its educational and advocacy services to even more girls in our state, providing them with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and have a better, brighter future.”

 

  • Stacy Gromatski, President and CEO, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, said, “The Florida Network believes the “Keep Florida Working” Budget demonstrates the Governor’s dedication to Florida’s youth and families by funding juvenile justice prevention and diversion services in our state. With juvenile arrests down again this past year and Florida’s juvenile arrest level at its lowest level in over 30 years, the Governor’s budget recommendations continue to underscore the importance of keeping our kids out of juvenile justice system all together, thus creating safer communities for Floridians to live and work.”

 

  • Sheriff Frank McKeithen, Bay County Sheriff, said, “I am thankful to the Governor and his support of law enforcement by providing the necessary funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) in Bay County. This funding will provide for the continued operation of the JAC, where youth are referred to for processing, allowing our officers to return to the community to protect and serve.”

 

  • Sheriff David Morgan, Escambia County Sheriff, said, “The Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) in Escambia County is essential for the proper screening and assessment of youth that have been taken into custody by law enforcement.  I applaud the Governor for funding the continued operation of the Escambia JAC and his dedication to public safety.”

 

To read the Governor’s entire “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget, visit http://www.keepfloridaworking.com/.

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