Title

Evaluation of the Florida Department of Children and Families Community-Based Care Initiative

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

In fiscal year (FY) 2001-02, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) contracted with the University of South Florida Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) to conduct an evaluation of the four counties in which Community-Based Care (CBC) was operational in FY00-01: Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties1. The Department contracted with FMHI again in FY02-03, expanding the evaluation to include all counties that began implementing CBC in FY01-02: Hillsborough, DeSoto, Okaloosa, Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties. The CBC Evaluation Plan has been designed in keeping with the legislative intent for CBC (s. 409.1671, F.S.), which is to assess quality of service, programmatic outcomes, and cost-efficiency of the CBC sites. Previous experience with the implementation of privatization and lead agencies in other parts of the nation has been inconsistent. In some cases the implementations were successful, while in others they have failed. Likewise, some implementations have achieved the promised benefits of privatization such as increased flexibility or reduced cost, and some have not, depending on local conditions and the implementation strategies used. However, a consistent finding is that in most cases, implementation took longer than expected (Gibelman & Demone, 1998). Because Florida’s CBC initiative is still quite new in most counties, it is too soon to conclude whether the reform has succeeded or failed. Consequently, this evaluation focuses on preliminary outcomes and the advantages and disadvantages of privatization as it has been implemented in Florida thus far. This report’s goal is to provide policymakers with concrete information and recommendations about next steps and mid-course corrections.

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