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2018 Movement Agenda

Early Learning

Florida’s two largest preschool programs, School Readiness and Voluntary Pre-K (VPK), provide access to an early learning experience for hundreds of thousands of children across our state, establishing the foundation for future educational success. Currently, there is a very real need to promote and ensure higher quality statewide.

The Movement is advocating to:

  • Incorporate standards for quality as a requirement of childcare provider contracts. “Low performing” providers will have 12 months to complete a corrective action plan and, if after the 12 months there is no improvement, the contract will be terminated.
  • Support funding to expand implementation of the Early Learning Florida program, overseen by the Lastinger Center at the University of Florida, which will enable thousands of teachers throughout Florida to access high-quality, effective, responsive professional development and improve their classroom skills: $3 million.

Health Care

With a rate that is almost double the national average, Florida ranks at the top of U.S. states in the number of uninsured children. More than 238,000 of Florida's youngest, most vulnerable citizens do not have health insurance, yet more than 80 percent are fully eligible and could be enrolled today if our state provided adequate outreach and enrollment.

The Movement is advocating to:

  • Support a work group that will look at streamlining and improving Florida KidCare programs.

Parent Skill-Building – Help Me Grow

Parents must play the most central and formative role in children’s lives. Caring, knowledgeable adults are central to children’s healthy development. All parents have questions and concerns about their children, but not everyone has trusted sources for the answers they need. All parents can benefit from information and support.

The Movement is advocating to:

  • Build off of the progress made during the last four legislative sessions and continue to support Help Me Grow Florida—a unique statewide resource that offers free, early-detection services for parents with developmental and behavioral concerns about their children: $2.5 million.

Screening, Assessment and Treatment for Special Needs

One of every six children has a special need—autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD and many more. Information and support can help parents guide children through these challenges and find peace of mind. Knowledge at parents’ fingertips gives them the best chance to help their children fulfill their potential.

The Movement is advocating to:

  • Expand online and phone-based screening and referral tools for families through a statewide Help Me Grow system.
  • Support adequate funding for the Early Steps intervention system, offering services to children (birth to 3 years old) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a development delay.

Mentoring

The Movement oversees ReadingPals, an early literacy initiative focused on reading proficiency by grade 3, which is currently in Year Six and operating in 15 Florida regions. The program is administered by United Ways and others across the state, and is made possible by the generous support of Carol and Barney Barnett. The goal: promote early literacy by pairing at-risk children in VPK through third grade with volunteer community mentors.