What is The Children's Movement of Florida?
We are citizens who have set out to make Florida the best state in the nation for young children, and believe that investment, especially in the early learning years, should be at the forefront of state priorities.
Why is a “movement” necessary now?
Florida ranks poorly in how we invest in children. Just a few statistics:
- More than 283,000 children in Florida are uninsured.
- The state's Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program – which serves more than 155,000 4-year-olds -- does not meet most national standards. The state of Florida currently spends $2,437 per year on a pre-K student, but more than $69,000 to incarcerate a juvenile.
- More than 33,000 eligible children are on a waiting list to access the state’s subsidized School Readiness program, according to the Florida Office of Early Learning.
- Only 4% of Florida’s education budget is spent on programs that benefit children in the early childhood years.
Studies show that $1 invested in high-quality early childhood programs can save society at least $7 in costs associated with more prisons, more police and prosecution, more remedial programs, higher health-care obligations.
What is The Movement seeking to accomplish?
By the year 2020, we want to:
- Ensure that every child in Florida has access to health insurance.
- Address the thousands of children who are eligible for subsidized child care, but are on the waiting list because the program does not have enough funding.
- Expand Help Me Grow, a free parent-resource program, to all 67 counties in Florida.
How will The Movement accomplish these goals?
The Children’s Movement is built upon the voices of hundreds of thousands of Floridians, knowing that the wisest path to success and well-being for our children and our state is to invest in our youngest. The path to success is built on three prongs: (1) A strong effort to build community support through grassroots organizing; (2) A far-reaching communication strategy to spread the message of early investment; and (3) A coordinated approach to engaging high-level business, political and community leaders.
What has The Movement accomplished since its launch in 2010?
Expanded access to quality health care for tens of thousands of children by removing unnecessary waiting periods. The Movement also helps promote the Florida KidCare health-insurance program, which offers medical, dental and other coverages at a low cost.
Increased investment in early childhood education by tens of millions of dollars for programs such as Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK), free to any 4-year-old in the state, and School Readiness, which helps eligible working families afford to send their younger children to preschools.
Gained state support to create Help Me Grow Florida, a comprehensive parent resource system now available in 29 counties. The program addresses a need for early identification of developmental and/or behavioral concerns in children birth to 8 years old. Help Me Grow is easily accessible on the web (www.helpmegrowfl.org) or by dialing 2-1-1 and asking to speak with a trained care coordinator, who can do free screenings and provide local resource referrals as warranted. Coordinators also follow each of their cases beyond referral to the completion of treatment.
Partnered with the Florida Chamber of Commerce to create the Early Learning Business Alliance, a business-led coalition focused on creating a world-class early education system in Florida. The chamber also hosts an annual Learners-to-Earners Summit to emphasize the connection between well-educated children, beginning in preschool, and a highly skilled workforce of the future.
Launched and manages a statewide initiative, ReadingPals, engaging about 2,500 trained volunteers in a weekly early literacy program for more than 3,000 young children from pre-kindergarten to third grade.
Does The Children’s Movement focus on elementary and secondary education?
The state should fully fund a high-quality education for all children. Our children – and our economy and our future – require that. The Children's Movement of Florida seeks to fill the void in advocating programs that are crucial to children at earlier ages when early and wise investment would have such a significant return.
Is The Movement advocating for tax increases and are tax dollars being used to fund the organization?
No. Tax dollars are not used to fund any of our work, and we are not advocating for tax increases. The Children's Movement of Florida, which is fully non-partisan, is being funded by contributions – and promotes only a more significant portion of the dollars already allocated by the state.
Does The Children’s Movement endorse political candidates?
No. This is an educational and informational effort. We hope that Floridians will hear our message, enlist in this movement and work to ensure that the necessary public and private resources are dedicated to ensuring the full and proper nurturing of all our children.
The strength of The Children's Movement is in the number of Floridians standing together to demand that children be our state's highest priority.
How can I support The Children's Movement of Florida?
By submitting your name and email address on our website --www.childrensmovementflorida.org -- you will be updated weekly on what's happening and how to be involved. You also can make a contribution of any size -- fully tax-deductible -- by simply clicking on the Donate button on The Children's Movement of Florida homepage.