State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Al Zimmerman
January 31, 2007 850-488-4855


Regarding the collaboration of the Department of Children and Families, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and the Office of the Pinellas County Public Defender to address mental health treatment needs in the criminal justice system.

"I would like thank Governor Charlie Crist, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Judge Crockett Farnell, Judge Robert Morris, Public Defender Bob Dillinger and Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats for all they have done to help us address this issue in Pinellas County and throughout the state. Their attention to this issue and devotion to the needs of Florida's mentally ill are extraordinary and will positively impact our state's mental health system for years to come.

"There is still much work to be done but I am confident that through continued discussion and partnership we will resolve this issue statewide. It is through cooperation, not confrontation that we will succeed in assisting the people that need our help the most.

"Under the leadership and direction of Governor Crist, we are determined to redefine the Department of Children and Families as an action oriented agency. Today we showed that we can and will embody all that it means to be accountable for our actions and committed to solutions.

"I am grateful for the support of the Governor, our fellow state agencies, and our partners in law enforcement and the judicial and criminal justice systems. I look forward to our continued collaboration."


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