Monday, May 30, 2011

Fla. child welfare agency cuts nearly 500 jobs

The Department of Children and Families is cutting nearly 500 positions to save the state $48 million as Gov. Rick Scott tries to balance the state budget and slash spending by nearly $4 billion, the agency said Monday.

Secretary David Wilkins said critical services will not be affected. About half the positions will come from three state hospitals: Florida State Hospital, Northeast Florida State Hospital and North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center. Northeast Florida State Hospital is the largest employer in Baker County.

State law requires inmates found to be mentally incompetent to be transferred within 15 days to a state psychiatric hospital instead of keeping them in jail. Advocates say about 70,000 mentally ill people are arrested annually in Florida

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