TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced $21 million in available funding for essential programs to enhance mental health crisis services in Florida’s communities and the Recruit and Maintain Behavioral Health Professionals grant program through select managing entities.
Funding will be allocated for crisis services and supports that help to address specific community needs deploying a three-pronged approach focused on prevention, intervention, and recovery. The services provided include immediate triage, assessment, care coordination/case management, and crisis intervention for individuals with behavioral health challenges. The goal of these services is to safely help individuals in their community with the appropriate care.
In addition, through the grant opportunity, funding will support increased recruitment and retention efforts for behavioral health professionals; professional development opportunities for the existing workforce that allow for upward mobility, and the development of innovative workforce initiatives.
“We understand the importance of supporting the well-being for all of Florida’s families, and it is critical that we continue to devote funding not only towards programing, but also in the workforce who delivers these critical services,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “I applaud Governor and First Lady DeSantis for their unrivaled commitment to eliminating the stigma associated with behavioral health and supporting the delivery of high-quality care. As a direct result, we are making tremendous strides, and Florida’s children and families are poised to lead lives in which they can thrive.”
This announcement builds upon the Governor’s historic investments in Florida’s behavioral health system of care. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2020, the State of Florida has put more than $3.7 billion toward community mental health and substance abuse services. Last fiscal year, because of the state’s efforts, more than 208,000 children and adults received behavioral health services through the Department, representing an increase of 53 percent between FY 19-20 and FY 21-22. Additionally, for the current fiscal year, the Freedom First budget provided nearly $294 million for community-based behavioral health services and state mental health treatment facilities’ operations.
The Department contracts with Managing Entities to provide behavioral health services through a network of community providers, enabling the Department to tailor funding to regional behavioral health needs. The grant will be implemented through North West Florida Health Network, Southeast Florida Behavioral Network, and Central Florida Behavioral Health Network Managing Entities, and available for providers in their service area to apply, and be awarded based on the development of sustainable strategies, plans, and actions to address the workforce challenges in the behavioral health labor force.
Specifically, the grants will focus on recruitment and retention of the following types of professionals: