The Children’s Movement of Florida
Who We Are
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan movement of Floridians insisting on a strong start for all Florida children. We advocate for high-quality early learning opportunities, access to children’s health care, and parent support programs in Florida.
What We Are Working On
Our advocacy and awareness work focuses on three pillars of early childhood: Health, Education, and Parent Support. We achieve impact at the local level by educating and empowering Floridians on the importance of the early years, and at the state level by encouraging elected officials to think of children when they vote. Here are a few of the initiatives we are working on.
- Improving Florida’s voluntary pre-K program.
- Supporting high-quality parent skill-building systems.
- Securing health insurance for all children.
- Ensuring screening and treatment for all children who may have special needs.
- Providing high-quality mentoring programs.
To learn more, visit our 2019 Agenda.
Why We Care
The human brain develops the same way we build a house. You have to lay a strong foundation before you can build walls or a roof. A child’s first three years lay the foundation for their lifelong learning.
- As of 2017, Florida spends less than $2,500 per child per year on a pre-K student, but spends more than $54,000 per child per year to incarcerate a juvenile.
- The state’s prekindergarten program – a program that serves more than 160,000 4 year olds – meets just 2 of 11 nationally recommended standards and ranks 42nd out of 43 reporting 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.
When children are healthy, they are ready to learn. Early exposure to toxic stress can weaken children’s defense systems against diseases, raising their risk of later heart disease, diabetes, and depression. It can also lead to lifelong difficulties in learning.
- Florida ranks near the bottom in terms of providing our children with access to quality health care, with 325,000 children uninsured as of 2017.
The relationships children have with their parents and other caregivers in their family or community are integral to their healthy development. We want to ensure caregivers receive the training and support they need to nurture the cognitive, emotional, and social pathways in a child’s brain.
- Research shows that early investment in young children provides greater prosperity for future generations. For every $1 spent on early learning initiatives, roughly $8.60 is returned to society, according to a recent analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
- Only 1.5% of the state’s overall budget and 4% of its education budget is spent on programs that benefit children in the early childhood years.
The Movement’s 2020 Goals
We want all children in Florida to have access to high-quality early education and health care. We want their parents to have access to parenting support that helps them be their best.
Ensure that every child in Florida has access to insurance to receive quality health care.
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 address children’s development and behavioral needs, to all 67 counties.
How You Can Help
- Mentor a reader. Help children learn to read with the ReadingPals program.
- Sign up for our weekly early childhood newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and research.
- Bring The Movement to your community event: Please reach out to our Outreach team to learn how we can work together to spread the word about the early years.
- Donate. Your contribution will allow us to keep working to bring awareness to these issues and chase real change in Tallahassee.
Our website photos were taken by Christina Frigo at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, Florida.