Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

June 15, 2011
DCF Communications (850) 488-4855
Cyndee Odom (850) 922-0082

Florida’s Children and Youth Cabinet Sets Priorities for Children’s Issues
~ 20-member panel meets and discusses initiatives that support Florida’s children ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA - The Florida Children and Youth Cabinet today held its first meeting of 2011 to update the new 20-member advisory body on the strategic plan and initiatives already underway. The Cabinet members also discussed new and innovative ways to improve coordination between Florida agencies and organizations that deliver services to children and youth.

"Over the past three years, the Cabinet has made tremendous strides in aligning policies, maximizing scarce resources and coordinating services across departments to work in the best interest of all Florida children," said First Lady and Florida's Chief Child Advocate Ann Scott. "As Chief Child Advocate, I look forward to seeing the accomplishments and results of this Cabinet ensuring that children in Florida grow up safe, educated, and prepared to meet their full potential."

"The Cabinet's goals are centered on a commitment to children and youth issues and supporting the healthy growth and development of Florida’s children," said David Wilkins, DCF Secretary and new chairman of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. "As a Cabinet, we will continue to work collaboratively to identify and implement the changes that need to be made in order to give all of Florida’s children the benefits they deserve, now and for generations to come."

Created in 2007, Florida’s Children and Youth Cabinet consists of 20 members including, the secretaries of the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Agency for Health Care Administration, as well as the directors of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Other members include the State Surgeon General, the Commissioner of Education, the director of the Guardian ad Litem Office and the director of the Governor's Office of Adoption and Child Protection. Additionally, the Governor appoints five members from around the state who are representatives of children and youth advocacy organizations, but who are not service providers. Rounding out the 20 are the five ex-officio members or their designees for the Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, Florida Supreme Court, Senate President and Speaker of the House.

As directed by Florida Statute 402.56, the Cabinet ensures that the public policy of Florida relating to children and youth is developed to promote interdepartmental collaboration and program implementation in order that services designed for children and youth are planned, managed, and delivered in a holistic and integrated manner to improve the children's self-sufficiency, safety, economic stability, health, and quality of life. The Cabinet is charged to meet six times a year.

"The Children and Youth Cabinet will continue to seek improved coordination and communication across our state agencies that serve children – Florida's most precious resource," said Cyndee Odom, Director of the Governor’s Office Adoption and Child Protection. "I would like to thank Governor Scott, First Lady Ann Scott and the administration for their support of the Cabinet's vision and mission."

The Cabinet encourages all Floridians to visit the Children and Youth Cabinet Web site at http://FLCYC.CYCISS.ORG. The Web site provides information about the Cabinet, work products and future meetings.