TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida child welfare officials have inked a deal with a new vendor for electronic food stamps.

The Department of Children and Families has been working with retailers since July to ensure a smooth transition. Officials say the deal will save the state $21 million over the next three years.

Purchases with the food stamp EBT debit cards will be available starting on Monday.  The benefits that would normally be issued between Sept. 11 and 15 will be issued early to ensure families have ample time to plan.  Normal purchases will resume Monday night.

The agency urged recipients to prepare for the one-day downtime by purchasing groceries in advance.  New cards will not be needed after the system transition.  A person's existing card will continue to be active.