DCF Employees Recognized with 38 Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards for Innovative Service for Floridians

For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2013

Nicole Stookey
Northwest Region Communications Director
(850) 509-2675

DCF Employees Recognized with 38 Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards for Innovative Service for Floridians

TALLAHASSEE— Five individuals and 33 teams at the Department of Children and Families were honored Thursday with the announcement of the 2013 Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards for better serving children, vulnerable adults and families while protecting taxpayers’ money at the same time.

“Our employees are experts at finding better, smarter ways to do their jobs and help those in need across Florida,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “I am very proud of all of the employees who were recognized for taking care of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors while protecting taxpayers' interests.”

Some of the DCF initiatives that won honors include:

  • Saving $9.6 million by preventing identify theft fraud within public assistance programs. The statewide team developed new tracking and data programs which allowed them to identify more than 9,200 applications for assistance where the named applicant was either deceased, incarcerated, was not a Florida resident or had no knowledge of the request. DCF is pursing penalties against those committing the fraud and hopes to recoup more than $500,000 in public assistance funds issued based on false information.
  • Developing a local comprehensive tracking system that helped provide assistance to "relative caregivers" such as grandparents taking care of their grandchildren. The three-member team based in Tampa designed a system that identified 150 children in the care of relatives not receiving benefits. This enabled these relatives to have the resources they needed to take care of these children without placing them in foster care.
  • Creating one toll-free phone line for customer interviews for public assistance benefits within the sixteen counties of DCF’s Central Region. The new process has improved customer satisfaction and streamlined the interview process.
  • Designing a structured child protective investigations volunteer, internship and practicum program in Gainesville. The restructured program provides volunteers and interns supervised application of studies or areas of interest, hands-on work experience and skills development. Volunteers directly support child protective investigators, allowing investigators to focus on helping area children and families in need.

Individual employees and teams won certificates, plaques and cash awards ranging from $300 to $1,250. In all, 468 individual and team awards were given to thousands of state employees statewide for their innovations and productivity improvements worth $514 million in cost savings, cost avoidances, and increased revenue for state government. Over the past 25 years, award winners have posted a total of $8.1 billion in added value for Florida taxpayers and businesses.

Since 1989, the Davis Productivity Award program has publicly recognized and rewarded state employees and work units whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation to improve the delivery of state services and save money for Florida taxpayers and businesses. The program is a major government improvement initiative co-sponsored by Florida TaxWatch, The Florida Council of 100, and the State of Florida.

The awards will be presented on June 5 at the 25th Anniversary Awards Dinner at the University Center Club at Florida State University, followed by regional awards luncheons in Jacksonville, June 17; Orlando, June 18; Miami, June 19; and Tampa, June 20 to several thousand state employees, individually and in teams. For more information and a list of all the awards, please go to http://www.floridataxwatch.org/prudpa.aspx.