Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Children’s Movement of Florida?
The Children’s Movement of Florida is 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.
Why is a “movement” necessary now?
Florida ranks poorly in how we invest in children. Just a few statistics:
- 339,000 children in Florida are uninsured.
- The state’s prekindergarten program – a program which serves more than 160,000 4 year olds — does not meet most national standards. 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.
- As of June 2018, more than 31,000 children are on a waiting list to access the state’s subsidized School Readiness program.
- As of 2017, only 4% of Florida’s education budget was 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 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 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 prioritize our youngest. The path to success is built on three prongs:
- A strong effort to build community support through on-the-ground engagement;
- A far-reaching communications strategy to spread the message of prioritizing the early years; and
- 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 free parent resource program 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 Business Alliance for Early Learning, 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.
With our partner, United Way, we launched and manage a statewide early literacy initiative, ReadingPals, engaging about 2,300 trained volunteers in a weekly early literacy program for more than 3,000 young children from pre-kindergarten to third grade.
Does The 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 from birth to 5, 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 Movement is fully nonpartisan, and is funded by contributions. We strongly support a more significant portion of tax dollars being allocated to programs that support early education and health care.
Does The Movement endorse political candidates?
No. This is an educational and informational effort. We do reach out to public officials to share important information about the many short- and long-term benefits of prioritizing the early years.
How can I support The Movement?
The strength of The Movement is in the number of Floridians standing together to demand that children be a higher priority in our state.
By submitting your name and email address on our website, 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.