Senate eyes limiting state dollars for salaries at child-welfare, mental-health groups

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would limit state dollars that could go to salaries at two types of organizations that play key roles in the child-welfare and mental-health systems.

The limit on money for salaries is included in a broader bill (SB 92), approved by the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, that deals with issues at the Department of Children and Families.

The limit would apply to employees of community-based care lead organizations and managing entities.

Community-based care lead agencies contract with the department to manage foster care and other child-welfare services, while managing entities contract to help direct mental-health and substance-abuse services.

Under the bill, employees would not be able to receive state-funded salaries that would exceed the amount made by the secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

Bill sponsor Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said that amount now is $148,000. Bean said, however, the bill would allow employees to be paid more if the additional funding came from other sources.