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Scott To Propose $19 Million In Mental Health Spending

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Associated Press
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday he will propose more than $19 million for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment services in his recommended budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Scott said the funding is part of a strategy he outlined earlier this month when he signed an executive order aimed at better coordinating such services statewide.

"We have to get better at supporting individuals and families affected by mental illness and substance abuse in their communities, instead of in the custody or supervision of the state," Scott said in a statement.

"We look forward to announcing more funding in our recommended budget for Floridians struggling with mental illness and substance abuse later this year."

Scott's budget proposal includes $12.8 million for community behavioral health services, which help people with mental illnesses transition back to their communities from state facilities

The governor's plan also includes $3.7 million to add "community action treatment" teams --- which provide treatment to youths with significant mental-health needs --- in five communities that don't currently have them. The funding for the teams would serve an estimated 395 additional families.

Finally, Scott is proposing $2.8 million to expand "family intensive treatment" teams in six more counties with high numbers of child-maltreatment reports that are related to substance abuse. FIT teams provide intensive services to families in the child welfare system dealing with addicted parents.

An estimated 280 more families could be served in their communities if lawmakers approve the governor's request.

The proposal would add to a partnership Scott created in July and expanded two weeks ago, both by executive order. The orders created pilot programs in Broward, Pinellas and Alachua counties to conduct inventories of all state programs that address mental health needs.

"We know that state funding alone will not produce better outcomes for those with mental illness and substance abuse needs," Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement.

"That is why we are laser-focused on our pilot programs in Broward, Alachua and Pinellas counties so we can develop a more coordinated way to serve patients."