The 5th week marks the halfway point of the 2019 Legislative Session and the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month. This week pinwheels popped up around the Capital City and throughout the state to raise awareness for child abuse prevention and support Great Childhoods for all children. This week the Capitol also hosted the Lauren's Kids '42 Hours for the 42 Million' awareness event led by Senator Lauren Book. Volunteers from across the state including Legislators, Agency Secretaries, community leaders and many more walked on a treadmill in the Florida Capitol for 42 consecutive hours to raise awareness and support for the 42 million sexual abuse survivors.
Additionally, the DeSantis administration made a few big announcements this week. At the Governor's press conference celebrating Child Abuse Prevention month, he announced the appointment of First Lady Casey DeSantis as Chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. In response to her appointment, First Lady Case DeSantis said, "I'm honored to serve the people of Florida in this capacity and look forward to working with child advocates across the state to better the lives of some of the most vulnerable citizens of our society."
The second announcement made by Governor DeSantis was that Florida has been awarded $26 million of federal dollars to fund a State Opioid Response Project aiming to reduce opioid-related deaths, prevent opioid abuse among young people and increase access to recovery treatment and services. He also announced the re-establishment of the Office of Drug Control within the Executive Office of the Governor and a Statewide Task Force on Opioid Drug Abuse. DCF Secretary Chad Poppell stated, "Too often children come into care because of their parent's opioid use. This $26 million, along with the significant investments already being made, will further Florida's ability to provide treatment, expand hospital bride programs, and enhance coordination within the child welfare system to help the parents of vulnerable children."