Chris Latvala seeks $250K appropriation for at-risk youth program, Ruth Eckerd Hall renovations

chris latvala
Latvala successfully received the same amount for the program last year.

Rep. Chris Latvala has filed an appropriations request to provide mental health resources to at-risk youth.

The request, HB 2153, seeks $250,000 for Integrated Care and Coordination for Youth, which works to embed clinical staff into the Department of Juvenile Justice Probation office. The funding request would directly impact Escambia, Marion, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas and Santa Rosa counties. Latvala’s district includes parts of Pinellas County, including the city of Largo. 

The project works to prevent young individuals who struggle with behavioral health issues from “slipping through the cracks,” according to the request

Program officials hope to reduce the likelihood of more severe behaviors manifesting and the need for more expensive services such as residential care.

According to the request, the Chiefs of Probation in Circuit 1 and Circuit 5 strongly support the program currently running in their areas.

The funding would be broken down primarily between salaries — $25,000 would go to a project director, $30,000 for a data collector, and $190,000 for four staff members. The remaining $5,000 would be used for office supplies and other tools. 

Last year, per another appropriations request from Latvala, the state allocated $250,000 to the program. 

Over the next five years, the project is expected to require $3 to $10 million from the state. 

Latvala also filed an appropriations request on behalf of Ruth Eckerd Hall. 

The request, HB 2155, asks for $250,000 in nonrecurring funding for the 73,000-square-foot Clearwater performing arts venue to complete renovations for outside space. 

The funding from the request would be used to renovate the hall’s east side landing, an outside area meant to serve as an educational space and gathering place. 

The nonprofit plans to use this area for “students and patrons to distance safely, outside, while participating in programming,” according to the request. 

Space would be used for students in Pinellas County schools to participate in a choral program as well. 

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


  • voncile1963

    January 23, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    The mental health resources for at-risk youth sounds like a worthy cause to spend taxpayer dollars on. However, he should submit detailed financial records showing where the dollars from last year’s allocation went before he is allotted MORE dollars. The funds to renovate Ruth Eckerd Hall should be denied and maybe revisited when the economy improves.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 24, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Exactly. They never demand accountability. And then are surprised when scandal erupts.

Comments are closed.


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