Fort Myers, Fla- More than 80% of southwest Florida families who have children in foster care are dealing with substance abuse.
Now, Children's Network of Southwest Florida is getting a financial boost.
"For years southwest Florida has been under-funded.. We've been advocating for years to try to bring some type of equity to the area." said Aimee McLaughlin, director of the program.
Now that is happening for child welfare services in southwest Florida, thanks to a bill signed by Governor Rick Scott last week.
"It will bring an additional 2.4 million dollars in funding for child welfare services to southwest Florida," McLaughlin said.
20 Florida agencies like the Children's Network are all funded by the state welfare budget.. and money from that budget will be re-allocated to help our area.
The factors for funding take into account: the number of families in poverty, the number of abuse calls, and children in foster care... this bill revises that method for the first time in years.
"They put together a formula that worked for the community then and as the community has grown and changed and child welfare services were privatized it just no longer worked," McLaughlin continued.
The Children's Network has a "no refuse" policy... and extra funds will help the growing need for services.
"It could be 1400, 2000, 500 and we're still going to be serving the same amount of children with the same amount of money," she said.
The Children's Network will meet in July.That's when they'll decide which programs get the money.