Rep. Chris Latvala filed three appropriations requests this week totaling nearly $5.5 million for his mid and north Pinellas County district.
The requests would fund beach protection in Madeira Beach, a drug recovery program for parents of young children and a fire training and education facility in Dunedin.
Latvala filed an appropriations request (HB 2611) for $1.5 million to fund beach groin maintenance in Madeira Beach. The beach groins are manmade structures that line portions of a beach and extend into the water to protect against beach erosion.
The funds would come from the Department of Environmental Protection. The appropriations request argues the funds would negate the need for beach nourishment and that the groins have proven effective because the city has not needed to request federal funding for beach renourishment.
The request is for nonrecurring funds, but future requests are anticipated.
Latvala also filed a request for $734,000 from the Department of Children and Families for a program within the agency Directions for Living’s BabyCAT program.
The program places parents identified by child protective investigators as having a substance abuse issue that contributes to abuse or neglect of their young children age 0-5 years. Those parents are placed into the BabyCAT program to reduced the risk of children having to be removed from their home.
Parents in the program receive 90-120 days of intensive mental health case management and substance abuse treatment. The program is aimed at decreasing the number of children entering the child welfare system and increasing the number of children entering trauma-informed early learning centers.
It also aims to decrease the number of parents arrested due to drug abuse, domestic violence or child abuse or neglect. Directions for Living uses jail data to determine if parents in the program were arrested while receiving treatment or within six-months after completing the program to monitor success.
Of the funding, $82,000 would go toward outcomes and expense tracking, $550,000 for direct services and $103,000 for drug testing supplies, travel and cell phone expenses.