DCF says no mental patients waiting to get into hospitals now listen06/29/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Last fall, the then head of the Department of Children and Families, Lucy Hadi, was threatened with jail, by a Pinellas County Judge for allowing mentally ill inmates to stay in the Pinellas County jail longer than 15 days.
Judges in other Florida counties also weighed motions to do the same. But with few hospital beds available, the state was threatened also with stiff fines for breaking the law.
Governor Charlie Crist and his DCF Secretary, Bob Butterworth, promised when they took their jobs earlier this year that they would do everything they could to alleviate the problem.
Today DCF announced that it had reached its goal of having NO individuals waiting for mental health facilities. Al Zimmerman is the spokesman for the Department of Children and Families (roll tape#1 o.q.”beds are concerned”)
In January, DCF sought out and received $16.6 million dollars to add more treatment beds to the state’s overwhelmed system.
Since that time, the Florida Legislature appropriated an additional $46 million dollars during the Legislative Session to continue to enhance community and in-jail mental health services.