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Rep. Neal Dunn introduces ‘CHILD’ bill to secure funding for Florida Sheriff Youth Ranches

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 12:46 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCJB) -North Central Florida Congressman Neal Dunn Wednesday introduced a bill aimed at helping community care centers for at-risk children receive federal funding.

The “Cottage Homes to Improve Lives for Dependents” or “CHILD” Act would ensure facilities like Florida Sheriff Youth Ranches retain federal funding.

Congressional staffers said in a press release, community care centers for at-risk children in transition have lost their status to receive the federal funding that is vital for operations. The bill will ensure that “cottage home care” facilities are added as a 5th specified placement option in the child welfare system.

“The Florida Sheriff Youth Ranches and others have done an outstanding job going beyond basic care and providing a sense of security, guidance, and belonging to children coming from difficult circumstances. Funding for these organizations and vital services to vulnerable children and families must not be interrupted. Every child in the system should have adequate resources necessary to achieve safety and permanency. My bill is an investment in the future of this nation,” said Rep. Dunn.

Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida’s 20th congressional district joined Dunn in introducing the bill.

“A good foster home is vital for children. With the impact of COVID-19, ensuring those children are placed in safe environments is more important now than ever. I’m proud to co-sponsor the C.H.I.L.D. Act, which provides the necessary resources for home environments for families and children in need,” said Rep. Hastings.

President of the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches has also put his support behind the bill.

“The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches is excited about this legislation. There are quality programs around our country that are perfectly situated to serve families in crisis. When you look at the child welfare system and you see pressure pushing it back 20 years to a time when children were sleeping in hotel rooms and staff offices due to a lack of quality places to live, you have to step up and say enough” said Youth Ranches President Bill Frye. “We are grateful to Dr. Dunn and Rep. Hastings for understanding the need to provide warm homes and caring adults for children in crisis and introducing this bill.”

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