History Of Community Based Care in Florida
Community Based Care (CBC) is a comprehensive redesign of Florida’s Child Welfare System initiated by Governor Jeb Bush and the Legislature. The transition to Community Based Care began in 1996, when the Florida Legislature, in response to growing issues and public dissatisfaction with the child protection system, mandated the outsourcing of child welfare services. The legislative intent was for local communities to come together on behalf of their most vulnerable children to foster local partnerships, investment, ownership, and to leverage community resources. By December 2005, all regions in Florida, using the Lead Agency design, had implemented the CBC model through a competitive procurement process. Under this system, lead agencies are responsible for providing foster care and related services while DCF retains oversight of contracts with lead agencies, operation of the child abuse hotline, and the provision of child welfare legal services.
DCF was also granted the authority to continue conducting child abuse investigations or contract this function to another governmental agency. To further engage local ownership and engagement, as well as raising the profile of the child welfare services, the state has contracted out protective investigations to seven local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the state has contracted out Child Welfare Legal Services to local Attorney General Offices in three communities and to the State Attorney’s office in one community. Currently, there are 18 lead agencies serving Florida’s 67 counties. They are responsible for managing the care and protection of Florida’s children by outsourcing foster care and related services to competent service providers imbedded within their local communities. The intent to increase local community ownership and forge public private partnerships which would augment the traditional service-delivery system. This was accomplished through the formation of local Community Alliances to whom Lead Agencies would be held accountable.