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Gov. Scott touting $85 million for youth crime diversion

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The state of Florida will spend nearly $85 million for crime prevention programs. Gov. Rick Scott announced funding for five programs Monday under the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

“Thanks to the dedication of our law enforcement officers and the great youth service providers across the state, Florida’s juvenile arrests are at their lowest levels in 30 years,” Scott said. “We are proud to invest nearly $85 million this year to improve the lives of Florida’s youth. By working together, we can continue to ensure that every child in Florida is given the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

The biggest chunk of the funding will go to the PACE Center for Girls to provide increased opportunities for young women to receive a quality education and have better access to counseling and advocacy.

“PACE Center for Girls is proud of the partnership we have with the governor and Legislature. Our program has transformed the lives of more than 37,000 middle and high school aged girls in Florida who were deemed at-risk for juvenile delinquency,” said Mary Marx, president and CEO of the PACE Center for Girls. “Our impact and our results are sustainable and we have the governor and Legislature to thank for making it possible.”

Another $5.5 million is going to the Boys and Girls Clubs to provide opportunities for young people in the state. AMIKids, a group that provides programs to teach youth skills to provide a brighter future, will be funded with $2.5 million.

“I want to thank Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their leadership in recognizing the necessity for early intervention and prevention services for the youth in our state. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget underscores the importance of keeping our kids out of the juvenile justice system, thus allowing them to achieve their full potential and setting them on the path toward a better and brighter future,” Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly said, referring to the $2.1 million that funds the “Keep Florida Working” program.

Other funding levels include $250,000 to Parenting and Love and Limits, a group that focuses on intervention with at-risk youth, and Kinder Vision/The Greatest Save. That group will receive $150,000 to further work on educational materials for middle and high school students to understand the risk associated with sexual predators.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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