State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Jeb Bush
Governor

Lucy D. Hadi
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: KRISTY CAMPBELL
OCTOBER 16, 2006 (850) 488-5394
  AL ZIMMERMAN
  (850) 488-4855

FLORIDA RECEIVES $33 MILLION FOR STRENGTHENING FAMILIES
~ Florida among the top three states in the nation in total grant awards ~

TALLAHASSEE - Lt. Governor Toni Jennings today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families awarded nearly $33 million to 13 organizations in Florida for services to help strengthen Florida's families during the next five years. Lt. Governor Jennings was joined today by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Alex M. Azar II and Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Lucy Hadi to award the grants, totaling $6.6 million this fiscal year, for services aimed at keeping Florida families healthy and secure.

         "Governor Bush and I thank Secretary Leavitt, Deputy Secretary Azar and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing Florida significant funding for services that strengthen marriages and families," said Lt. Governor Jennings. "Through the efforts of these community organizations, Florida's families are learning how to build stronger and more stable relationships."

        Florida's grant awards went to ten programs to promote healthy marriage and three programs to promote responsible fatherhood, providing 13 organizations across the state with additional funding for education, outreach and awareness activities. Florida is among the top three states in the nation in total grant dollars, along with California and Texas.

        "Nearly one in three children in Florida will go to bed tonight in a house where her father or mother does not live," said Deputy Secretary Azar. "That's why President Bush and Secretary Leavitt are so committed to supporting grantees that work to strengthen marriages and families."

        Strengthening Families service providers throughout the state strive to improve the skills of parents, strengthen the relationships of couples and strengthen the relationships between parents and children. Funding provided through these grants will be used by Strengthening Families organizations to promote and enhance services designed to build stronger relationships and promote responsible fatherhood.

        "Healthy family relationships can sometimes be difficult to maintain, but they are absolutely vital to the stability of every family no matter the shape or size," said Secretary Hadi. "When parents and children know how to talk to each other and share a secure family environment, children are much more likely to remain healthy and make healthy choices as they grow and learn."

        Examples of the free and voluntary services currently offered by grant recipients include relationship counseling, the development of better communication, conflict resolution and coping skills and referrals to other available community services.

         The federal grants were authorized by Congress under the recently reauthorized Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. For more information on the Florida Department of Children and Families' Strengthening Families Initiative, please visit www.floridafamilies.org.

        Note: Attached is a complete listing of the Strengthening Families Grant Allocations.

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