First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces Hope Florida – A Pathway to Potential, Expanding the Hope Florida Model to Support At-Risk Youth and Their Families
The Floridant/10226084

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ~ Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the launch of Hope Florida – A Pathway to Potential, a program designed to break down government silos and expand services for at-risk youth and their families. The program is operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and will include 40 Hope Navigators (two in each of Florida's 20 judicial circuits).

"In Florida, we believe that every child has been blessed with unique talents and gifts, even if they haven't realized it yet, which is why we are launching this new program to put at-risk youth on a Pathway to Potential," said First Lady Casey DeSantis. "We also know that involvement in the juvenile justice system does not happen overnight, and a lot of the time it is the result of difficulties at home and at school. With this new expansion of Hope Florida, we are making sure children across the state are connected with support and mentors in their communities that can help put them back on the right path."

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Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Eric Hall stated that "the best way to keep kids from entering the juvenile justice system is by helping them at the first sign of trouble. Creating Hope Florida – A Pathway to Potential will allow us to assist youth who are going down the wrong path, which will ultimately help to build stronger families and increase public safety in our communities. I am so grateful to our First Lady for her support and for supporting our state's most vulnerable children."

Senator Corey Simon added that "No child's destiny should be defined by their earliest mistakes. I am proud to stand with our First Lady to expand the Hope Florida model to support at-risk youth and their families." Families in need of services can connect with the program from a number of pathways, including by calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).

The expansion includes help for parents and guardians who are dealing with issues at home such as youth who are habitually truant from school; running away from home; or forming negative relationships and being negatively influenced by peers. Additionally, businesses have been incorporated into Hope Florida making it first in the nation to expand CarePortal to businesses. Through this partnership businesses can provide tangible items like mattresses, bed sheets and clothes as well as financial assistance and transportation for Floridians with short-term unmet needs.

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Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris expressed her gratitude towards First Lady DeSantis' leadership saying "we have been able to help thousands of Floridians in a truly bold and transformational way through the Hope Florida program...This expansion will enhance our state's prevention efforts for vulnerable youth...and we are excited at the opportunity it will present in supporting youth who may also be dually served by both DCF and DJJ."

Hope Florida – A Pathway To Potential is an important step forward towards providing resources for those most vulnerable within our society - children - so they can reach their full potential despite any difficulties they may face along their journey.

Filed Under: Government, State

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