One of the greatest attributes of the Community Alliance of Sarasota County is that it serves as the collective voice of Sarasota County's network for human and social services.

Beyond regular meetings, the Community Alliance convenes twice a year to collectively decide on its legislative priorities for the next Florida Legislative Session. The Legislative Summit includes break-out sessions for nine categories of social service systems in the community, where attendees decide on their top two priorities in each category. A month later at the Legislative Breakfast, all 18 priorities are given two minutes to be pitched or outlined to local District State Representatives.

At this year's Breakfast on October 29, 2019, four district representatives attended:

In our role as Administrator for the Community Alliance of Sarasota County, and in her role as the Second Vice Chair of the Alliance, Charlene Altenhain (COO, Glasser/Schoenbaum) helps to organize both meetings, ensuring a cohesive process as our community comes together to speak with one voice.

2020 Legislative Priorities

The outcome of the meeting - the Alliance's legislative priorities for 2020 - are listed below. A comprehensive, printed version of the priorities, called the "Blue Book" for the color of it's enclosing binder, is given to all attendees, including Legislators.

They priorities are listed below in order of the nine social service categories they represent.

  1. Aging
    • 10% increase in funding to Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) who currently must inform, screen, assess and oversee services to a growing population of older adults in need of services to remain safe in the community
    • 10% increase or shift of funding to Home and Community Based Care programs (CCE Community Care for the Elderly, HCE Home Care for the Elderly, ADI Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative)
  2. Behavioral Health
    • HOPE Coalition – Health, Opportunity, Prevention, Early Intervention
    • Psychiatric Residency
  3. Child Welfare
    • Early Childhood Court
    • Open Doors Outreach Network
  4. Children & Youth
    • Ensure recurring funding for SB 7026, The Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act
    • Statewide Plan for Intervening Early in First Episode Psychosis
  5. Criminal Justice
    • Adolescent Diversion and Assistance Program (ADAP)
    • Take My Life Back WORx® Pilot Program- Addiction Treatment and Vocational Training Program
  6. Developmental Disabilities
    • Diploma Options for Students with Developmental Disabilities
    • Reduction of Medicaid Waiver Wait List
  7. Early Learning
    • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
    • “See Something, Do Something” (SSDS) Peer to Peer Support Pilot
  8. Healthcare
    • Increased funding for Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic and Training Center
    • Substance Exposed Newborns Services
  9. Homelessness
    • Community Addiction-Recovery Program
    • State Unified Grant, and Homeless Management Information System Privacy
Rep. Margaret Good and Rep. James Buchanan at the Legislative Breakfast.
Rep. Margaret Good and Rep. James Buchanan at the Community Alliance Legislative Breakfast.
Left to right: Rep. Tommy Gregory, Heidi Brown, Michelle Grimsley, Ruth, Brandwein
Left to right: Rep. Tommy Gregory, Heidi Brown, Michelle Grimsley, Ruth Brandwein at the Community Alliance Legislative Breakfast.
Left to right: Heidi Brown, GeeDee Ker, Ruth Brandwein


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Janet Kahn Executive Director Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County
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Cintia Elenstar Executive Director UnidosNow
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Svetlana Kaminsky Executive Director Children's Guardian Fund
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