DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Sarrah Troncoso
March 27, 2008 850-488-4855


Carrie Hoeppner

ACCESS Tours Highlight the Importance of Community Partnerships in Serving the Public

ORLANDO, FLA.- Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth today joined USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner, to tour ACCESS Florida’s community partner sites in the Orlando area. ACCESS (Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency) Florida is the modernized public assistance service delivery system that assists families with food stamp, temporary cash assistance, and Medicaid benefits. The program works with more than 2,500 community partners statewide to provide additional access to the online application process. This February, the program served more than 1.4 million food stamp clients in Florida.

“We believe our ACCESS program represents a fundamental change in the way we serve our clients,” said Secretary Butterworth. “Through the automated system and our community partner network, the emphasis is on responding quickly and providing better customer service because that’s what families need. The public response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Under Secretary Johner previously visited Florida to view firsthand the success of the ACCESS Florida system and is returning to see examples of how community partnership improves the Department’s ability to reach families in need of assistance. The visit included a tour of Access Connection, Inc/Church & Community Assistance Program and the Greater Orlando Food Bank, both community partners.

“I found my visit to Orlando very informative and very inspiring,” Johner said. “The partners that I visited are excellent examples of what is happening around the country. Local citizens and organizations are getting involved in their communities in creative and innovative ways to reach out to the communities they serve and help improve their access to a more nutritious diet.”

Last September, ACCESS Florida was one of only seven recipients in the nation of the 2007 Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award recognizes the program’s dramatic improvements in how citizens receive public assistance benefits.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlighted Florida’s ACCESS Program in December for orchestrating the most drastic improvement in the nation for accuracy in the provision of food stamps. The review collected data from October 2006 to July 2007, the first ten months of the federal fiscal year, and Florida’s food stamp error rate was 3.62 percent, below the national average of 5.25 percent.

To apply for food stamps or to locate a customer service center in your area, call 1-866-76ACCESS (1-866-762-2237) or visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/ess/.


Copyright© 2010 State Of Florida The Official Logo of the Florida Department of Children and Families
Privacy Statement
Please report any problems with this site to the Webmaster.