Florida has been granted a long-term waiver on how it uses federal money for at-risk children. The five-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides flexibility with Title IV-E funds designed for children in foster care, according to the Miami Herald.
It will allow local and state agencies to use the money for children in at-risk families, for services such as mental health counseling or substance abuse treatment, the Herald said. Florida had been awarded short-term waivers in the past. Officials told the Herald this long-term waiver may help agencies intervene and prevent families from breaking up.
This money comes as state legislators also considering beefing up commitment to children’s programs, according to the News Service of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott’s budget includes hundreds of millions of dollars for programs such as Healthy Families Florida, Early Steps and the Department of Children and Families’ child protection teams. The funding in most cases replaces massive cuts made to the programs in the past decade, the News Service reported.