State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo Designated as Chair of the Florida Children & Youth Cabinet

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Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the resignation of First Lady Casey DeSantis as Chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet and the designation of State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo as the new Chair.

“I’m proud of the First Lady’s leadership as Chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Her commitment to children is unmatched, and she has continued to foster collaboration across state and local partners to benefit families in our state. As a mother, she understands that Florida’s youth need our support, love, and care, and we are all better for her leadership over the past three years.”

Originally appointed in 2019, First Lady DeSantis led the Cabinet with distinction, recognizing the bandwidth and horsepower of the talented group of individuals serving on the Cabinet. The First Lady continuously challenged members to take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of children in our state. Under her leadership, the Cabinet tackled critical issues and aided in the state’s pandemic response, notably including:

  • In 2019, First Lady DeSantis directed the Cabinet to focus on prevention of youth suicide by establishing two workgroups: one to find and review current-situation data statistics, and the second to research the best and most-promising prevention efforts, particularly regarding mentorship. The working groups presented reports in 2020 – naming mentorship as the number one recommendation for focus moving forward.
  • In 2020, First Lady DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) partnered to provide nearly 1,000 devices to Florida children in foster care in need of a mobile technology device, such as a laptop, to help address the unique challenges to educational stability that these students confront.
  • In 2020, First Lady DeSantis designated Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller to lead a workgroup to expand the effort to address stigma associated with mental health – particularly in minority communities across the state and beyond. Secretary Marstiller presented a report in 2021 outlining short-term and long-term steps that the state can take to address the social stigma within minority communities – naming peer support as the number one recommendation for focus moving forward.
  • In 2021, First Lady DeSantis charged the Cabinet with reviewing the FDOE Resiliency Curriculum and Toolkit and asked that members present on ways to incorporate the key tenets – problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and the value of mentorship, empathy, respect, and responsibility – into work on behalf of Florida’s children and youth moving forward.

On July 11, 2007, legislation was signed that created the Children and Youth Cabinet. The Cabinet is charged with promoting and implementing collaboration, creativity, increased efficiency, information sharing, and improved service delivery between and within state agencies and organizations. As directed by statute, in 2007 the Cabinet developed a shared vision and a Strategic Plan to guide the Cabinet in designing and implementing measurable outcomes and actions that promote collaboration and information sharing.