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Child welfare projects, priorities for Jose Oliva, nixed from budget

Gov. Ron DeSantis cuts $5 million from from the Florida Institute of Child Welfare.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $5 million from the state budget intended for Florida State University’s Florida Institute for Child Welfare.

That veto is part of more than $1 billion axed from lawmakers’ budget proposal. Child welfare was one of outgoing House Speaker José Oliva priorities.

In 2014, the Legislature created the program under the FSU College of Social Work. This year, the program will carry on without the extra financial boost from the state.

The Institute for Child Welfare is charged with making scientific contributions to child safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. It also advises the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and others about evidence regarding child welfare, managerial and administrative practices.

Despite losing this project, Oliva praised the “appropriate and decisive action” to make the billion dollar “savings.”

“The Governor knows that we cannot tax and spend our way out of recession,” Oliva said in a statement. “Today’s reality is a stark reminder that in times of plenty, saving for a rainy day is the only responsible use of the excess.”

DeSantis retained $117.6 million for children and families who receive services through the child welfare system, including $53 million to enhance accountability and quality of care in DCF.

Other losses for child welfare services include $1 million for the Heart Gallery of Florida, a quarter million for One More Child and $100,000 for Voices for Children.

Child abuse prevention services like Exchange Club programs in Northeast Florida, Martin and St. Lucie counties and Palm Beach and Broward counties lost $150,000, $250,000 and $150,000 respectively.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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