Workforce Shortages

Why It Matters

Workforce shortages in Florida have been especially hard on child-serving professions, which struggled to find quality employees before COVID and continue to have difficulties today – including child welfare, juvenile justice and
 mental health services.

High turnover rates, low wages, high caseloads lead to youth receiving inconsistent care and vastly worse outcomes. 

Where Florida Stands


Floridians who live in healthcare professional shortage areas

1 of 11

Florida is one of 11 states nationwide with a critical need of child welfare workers


Nearly 2,000 MORE healthcare professionals are needed to remove shortages.

Our Priorities

One in 3 Floridians live in Health Professional Shortage Areas, which leaves 7.5 million individuals without affordable access to primary care, dental care , and mental health care.

When children do not have access to preventive care visits, serious health consequences can impact their school performance. Conditions such as asthma, vision problems, hearing problems, and behavioral problems, when left untreated, lead to less school engagement poorer school performance, and even being held back.

In Florida, there are currently 302 Health Professional Shortage Areas. It is estimated that there would need to be 1,722 additional healthcare practitioners in order for these areas to be removed from the list.

Children with mental illness and substance abuse problems often don’t have access to the critical services they need to resolve issues, live a healthy life, succeed, and remain out of the justice system. In the past two years, only 58% of Florida children who needed mental health care received services, leaving a majority of children with mental health needs susceptible to the risks associated with untreated illnesses at an already vulnerable period in their lives.

The infusion of mental health dollars into public schools after the Parkland school shooting massacre has not provided the progress sought and there is much debate about the cause and discussion about the lack of linkages and coordination with community based mental health providers. 

Too often, Florida’s mental health system is directed by stakeholders with financial interests, rather than families impacted, researchers, and advocates without an affiliation with the existing vested interests.  Managing Entities who administer the majority of funds need more flexibility in aligning allocation strategies with local community need as an alternative to the many funding “siloes” they are challenged to execute based on legislative and executive branch categorical mandates. 

The voices of Floridians relying on these support systems need to be heard for the state to ensure it serves its children, families and citizens’ mental health needs effectively and efficiently.