Section 411.232, Florida Statutes 2004
411.232 Children's Early Investment Program.--
(1) CREATION.--There is hereby created the Children's Early Investment Program for young children who are at risk of developmental dysfunction or delay and for their families. This program shall coordinate a variety of resources to program participants through a responsible agent for the child and the child's family. The services and assistance provided shall focus on the family and shall be comprehensive. The programs and services offered shall enhance family independence and shall provide social and educational resources needed for healthy child development.
(2) GOALS.--The goal of the Children's Early Investment Program is to encourage and assist an effective investment strategy for the at-risk young children in this state and their families so that they will develop into healthy and productive members of society. The Children's Early Investment Program is designed to provide intensive early intervention to at-risk expectant mothers, young children, and their families in order that this state will invest now for a future in which the workforce is skilled and stable; in which crime rates are reduced; and in which the social and economic costs of high-risk pregnancies and low birthweight babies are reduced. The objectives of the Children's Early Investment Program are to increase the percentage of children entering the school system who are ready and able to learn; to reduce teenage pregnancies among this at-risk population; to reduce the numbers of cocaine babies born in this state; to reduce the crime rate among these children as they grow up; to reduce the rate of school dropouts in this state and to increase the basic skills and ability of the future workforce. It is anticipated the efforts targeted now to expectant mothers and young children will show their greatest results in the years when these at-risk children enter school and when they are teenagers and young adults. Benefits are also anticipated, however, as the families of these children are assisted in addressing their own needs, and corresponding reductions in foster care placements, low birthweight babies, teen pregnancy, economic instability and dependence, and other signs of dysfunction are anticipated.
(3) ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS.--
(a) Initially, the program shall be directed to geographic areas where at-risk young children and their families are in greatest need because of an unfavorable combination of economic, social, environmental, and health factors, including, without limitation, extensive poverty, high crime rate, great incidence of low birthweight babies, high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse, and high rates of teenage pregnancy. The selection of a geographic site shall also consider the incidence of young children within these at-risk geographic areas who are cocaine babies, children of single mothers who receive temporary cash assistance, children of teenage parents, low birthweight babies, and very young foster children. To receive funding under this section, an agency, board, council, or provider must demonstrate:
1. Its capacity to administer and coordinate the programs and services in a comprehensive manner and provide a flexible range of services;
2. Its capacity to identify and serve those children least able to access existing programs and case management services;
3. Its capacity to administer and coordinate the programs and services in an intensive and continuous manner;
4. The proximity of its facilities to young children, parents, and other family members to be served by the program, or its ability to provide offsite services;
5. Its ability to use existing federal, state, and local governmental programs and services in implementing the investment program;
6. Its ability to coordinate activities and services with existing public and private, state and local agencies and programs such as those responsible for health, education, social support, mental health, child care, respite care, housing, transportation, alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention, income assistance, employment training and placement, nutrition, and other relevant services, all the foregoing intended to assist children and families at risk;
7. How its plan will involve project participants and community representatives in the planning and operation of the investment program;
8. Its ability to participate in the evaluation component required in this section; and
9. Its consistency with the strategic plan pursuant to s. 411.221.
(b) While a flexible range of services is essential in the implementation of this act, the following services shall be considered the core group of services:
1. Adequate prenatal care;
2. Health services to the at-risk young children and their families;
3. Infant and child care services;
4. Parenting skills training;
5. Education or training opportunities appropriate for the family; and
6. Economic support.
Additional services may include, without limitation, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, mental health services, housing assistance, transportation, and nutrition services.
(4) RULES FOR IMPLEMENTATION.--The 1Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section.
History.--s. 3, ch. 89-379; s. 100, ch. 96-175; s. 204, ch. 97-101; s. 98, ch. 2000-165; s. 23, ch. 2000-337.
1Note.--The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services was redesignated as the Department of Children and Family Services by s. 5, ch. 96-403, and the Department of Health was created by s. 8, ch. 96-403.