The Florida Department of Children and Families announced $21 million in available funding for essential programs to enhance mental health crisis services in Florida’s communities and the Recruit and Maintain Behavioral Health Professionals grant program through select managing entities, according to a news release.
Funding will be allocated for crisis services and supports that help to address specific community needs deploying a three-pronged approach focused on prevention, intervention and recovery.
The services provided include immediate triage, assessment, care coordination/case management, and crisis intervention for individuals with behavioral health challenges.
In addition, through the grant opportunity, funding will support increased recruitment and retention efforts for behavioral health professionals; professional development opportunities for the existing workforce that allow upward mobility; and the development of innovative workforce initiates, the release said.
Specifically, the grants will focus on recruitment and retention of these types of professionals: Social work, psychology, marriage and family therapists, mental health therapists, psychiatrists and certified peer specialists.
The Florida Association of School Nurses (FASN) has named Pasco County Schools’ Amy Ponce as the Excellence in School Nursing: School Nurse Administrator of the Year (2023). Ponce is the first recipient of the statewide award, according to a news release.
Ponce, who has worked for Pasco County Schools for 10 years, now oversees all School Health Services for the school district.
The FASN described Ponce as a dedicated and effective medical professional who has “consistently improved the practice of school nursing in Pasco,” and who has been instrumental in supporting school nurses around the state and increasing leadership growth among school nurses, the release said.
“Amy Ponce is a great supervisor and a great advocate for school health. We are fortunate to have her here in Pasco,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.
Browning recalled when Ponce was a school-based nurse in 2018, she was instrumental in saving the life of a high school student by performing CPR after the student suffered a heart attack.