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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida legislators reject $4.9 million federal grant intended for parenting program



From the Times' Curtis Krueger:

Kimberly Dudley says she is grateful for the agency Healthy Start, which sent an educator into her home to help her get off drugs and prevent her kids from getting shipped to foster care.

"If I didn't have the program, I would be homeless with a premie," said Dudley, 21, a Clearwater mother of two young children.

But now the program is in danger.

That's because earlier this month, the Florida Department of Health turned down a $4.9-million federal grant that already has helped 84 Pinellas County families and hundreds more statewide.

The department was forced to turn down the money after the Florida Legislature refused to accept it. Some state lawmakers were upset because the program is connected to the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

"It's unconscionable, unconscionable that we should return this money to Washington . . . and allow it to go to other states," said state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 9:56pm]


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