By Dave Lawrence
Floridians who care deeply about our children’s future have cause for optimism after the 2016 legislative session ended Friday night.
The passage of two important legislative priorities — both championed by The Children’s Movement of Florida and its partners for years — will be game-changers for tens of thousands of children and their families.
- A KidCare proposal, fought for by Rep. Jose Diaz and Sen. Rene Garcia, will remove a five-year wait period to access health insurance for lawfully residing immigrant children. Bolstered by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli’s backing this year, more than 17,000 eligible children can apply for health coverage beginning in July. It’ll make a big difference — sick children don’t learn as well as healthy children.
- Help Me Grow, a 24-hour-a-day parent resource is in line to receive $2.45 million this year to continue to expand across the state. Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Erik Fresen pushed for a $573,000 increase over last year for this program, a longtime cause of The Children’s Movement.
Implementing the legislation now depends on Gov. Rick Scott signing them into law. Urge him to take that final step to make these life-enhancing changes a reality. Please click here to show your support, and The Children’s Movement will make sure your voice is heard in his office.
The Children’s Movement of Florida is a non-partisan grassroots movement of Floridians insisting on increased investment in the first five years of all our children.
Who We Are
We are a non-partisan grassroots movement of Floridians insisting on increased investment in the first five years of all our children.
What We Are Working On
- Improving Florida’s voluntary pre-K program.
- Implementing high-quality parent skill-building programs.
- Securing health insurance for all children.
- Ensuring screening and treatment for all children who may have special needs.
- Providing high-quality mentoring programs.
Why We Care
- Every $1.00 of early childhood investment can save $4.00 of future taxpayer expenditures on prison, remedial programs, and higher healthcare costs.
- Florida spends only $2,383 per year on a pre-K student, but spends more than $51,000 per year to incarcerate a juvenile.
- Only 3% of Florida’s budget is spent on programs that benefit children in the early childhood years.
- The state’s prekindergarten program – a program that serves more than 170,000 4 year olds – meets just 3 of 10 nationally recommended standards and ranks 34th among 38 states in per pupil funding.
- A fifth of our public high school students do not graduate, and almost half of 10th grade public school students in Florida cannot read at grade level.
- Florida ranks near the bottom in terms of providing our children with access to quality health care, with more than 436,000 children currently uninsured.