How We Work
Florida's publicly funded Children's Mental Health Program is part of the Mental Health Program Office in the Department of Children and Families. The Children's Mental Health Program includes a small unit of central office staff in Tallahassee, staff in the 20 circuit offices covering the state, providers from whom the circuits buy services, and funding sources, including the Florida Legislature, the federal government, local governments, and other funding sources. Our partners in the system of care include agencies that provide other health, educational, and social services for children needing mental health services and their families.
CENTRAL OFFICE STAFF ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR POLICY AND PLANNING:
The central office for Children's Mental Health is responsible for statewide planning and program development. The focus of this office is to provide leadership for and to be supportive of the circuit staff that directly manage local service delivery. The central office includes a chief and six professional staff who:
- Coordinate the development of statewide plans and programs
- Provide statewide policy guidance for the circuits
- Provide technical assistance to circuits, providers and families
- Assist in the development of statewide legislative budget requests and the review of proposed legislation
- Coordinate the analysis of data on children's services, including performance measures
- Collaborate with other child-serving agencies and programs to ensure integration of services for children diagnosed with serious emotional disturbance
CIRCUIT OFFICE STAFF ASSIST FAMILIES IN NEED OF SERVICES:
Within each circuit office there is at least one staff person with primary responsibility for children's mental health services. These Children's Mental Health Specialists negotiate and monitor service contracts, work collaboratively with partner agencies and programs, such as the schools, Family Safety and Preservation, and Juvenile Justice, and provide information to families and communities within the district about programs and services for children diagnosed with mental health issues. Circuit Substance Abuse and Mental Health program office phone numbers can be located for the county that you live in by accessing the following link.
Children's Mental Health services are purchased by the district from public and private providers, such as community mental health centers, other child-serving agencies, and private mental health agencies and professionals. Services are purchased either through contracts or individually through a purchase-of-service arrangement. Providers are monitored by the Children's Mental Health Specialists, by any national agencies the providers may be accredited by, and through the Department's performance measures process. Performance Measures for Children's Mental Health Providers can be found at this site.
The program serves approximately 80,000 children annually.