Department Initiatives

Secretary Sheldon speaks about the Department's outstanding effort to help those affected by Haitian earthquake. (1/28/2010) Transcript

DCF Programs

ACCESS: The ACCESS Florida Program supports the food stamp, cash assistance and Medicaid programs and is the state's front door for residents needing help making ends meet.

U.S. citizens and non-citizens who meet federal immigration status may receive Temporary Cash Assistance, food stamps and Medicaid benefits provided they meet other program requirements. U.S. citizens arriving in from Haiti may apply for and receive Repatriation Assistance at their point of entry. Repatriation assistance may consist of financial assistance with travel to their home, meals, temporary lodging, medical care and other incidental expenses. Other services such as counseling and child care assistance are also provided at these locations.

DCF worker reunites three sisters with their aunt

An individual or family may apply for Temporary Cash Assistance, food stamps and Medicaid through our ACCESS website at: or by calling 1-866-762-2237.

REFUGEE SERVICES: Is the institutional knowledge base for the Department of Children and Families repatriation program and coordinates efforts at the state and federal level. If the U.S. government grants Haitian earthquake victims permission to enter the U.S. through a humanitarian parole, they will be eligible for Refugee Services through the Florida Department of Children and Families. As Haitian entrants, these individuals would be treated the same as refugees for purposes of eligibility for public benefits including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid. Individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid or TANF would potentially be eligible for eight months of Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA). Other Refugee Services include:

  • Youth services for school-aged children
  • Child care
  • Employment related legal services
  • Employment services]
  • Adult education
  • Health care

Please visit our website at: or contact our office at 305-377-5055. Refugee Services are available throughout Florida.

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) designated by the federal government would be eligible to foster care through Refugee Services, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Additional information on the URM program may be found at the following link:

FAMILY SAFETY: If you have concerns that a child or adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect, please immediately call our Florida Abuse Hot Line at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). If you have questions about adoption or foster care, please call 850-488-8762 for further information.

HOMELESSNESS: For U.S. citizens and non-citizens facing homelessness, referrals to local service agencies can be obtained by calling the Office on Homelessness at 850-922-4691.

MENTAL HEALTH: The Department of Children and Families has collected and translated a broad range of resource materials for use by individuals and agencies working with people devastated by the earthquake in Haiti. To access these documents please go to: For individuals seeking additional mental health treatment, please visit our website at:

ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES: Adult Protective Services can offer the following (each of these services is limited to U.S. citizen adults aged 18-59 with disabilities and the elderly aged 60+):

  • Referrals to the Department of Elder Affairs for services for adults 60+, including medical
  • Placement assistance
  • Some local offices have consumable supplies on hand

For information contact Adult Protective Services by calling (850) 488-2881 or visit our website at:

CHILD CARE: The Child Care Program can provide assistance via their website,, in locating child care arrangements for children who may be relocating to relatives in Florida.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: U.S. citizens and non-citizens requesting domestic violence services or information can call Florida's Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119. Advocates are available 24 hours a day to assist with advocacy, counseling, safety planning, emergency shelter, information, referrals, and a multitude of other domestic violence services. Services are confidential and available at no charge. For more information please visit our website at: