Increase Florida state funding for youth mental health

Increase Florida state funding for youth mental health

The Florida Legislature’s disdain for mental health care — the state ranks 49th in the country for government spending on this critical service — stands in stark contrast to Manatee County’s enlightened position. The state has slashed funding by more than 30 percent over the past six years but the county picked up the slack on one essential program — substance abuse and mental health counseling and treatment for children age 5-17.

Last week, Manatee Glens President and CEO Mary Ruiz acquainted a Florida House committee of the clear advantages of the county-funded Community Action Team, a fiscally sound endeavor that should appeal to state budget hawks.

In her presentation to the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Ruiz explained how the Manatee Glens team system in the treatment of severely emotionally disturbed children achieves success and deserves state funding.

Most significantly, the team approach costs only $67.50 per day per child compared with residential treatment programs costing as much as $350 a day.