Florida’s future prosperity depends on our ability to foster the health and well-being of today’s children. When a society invests wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.
We can’t focus on developing just one part of the child without paying equal attention to the other capacities. Cognitive, emotional and social capacities are tightly connected throughout the life course. Being an interactive organ, the brain utilizes some functions to enrich others. Language acquisition, for example, relies on hearing, the ability to differentiate sounds, and the ability to pay attention and engage in social interaction.
When children in Florida are not able to have access to health insurance, they are unable to visit a pediatrician for the routine screenings they need. Early identification of developmental or behavioral delays and illness is proven to save society money and produce better results for children.
The Children’s Movement of Florida wants to ensure that programs such as Help Me Grow, Early Steps, and Child Find are readily available to all parents in Florida who need access to information and resources to care for their children. We want to ensure that Florida KidCare can continue the great work it does to provide insurance to all children in Florida.
As stewards of the State of Florida, it is our responsibility to invest wisely in society so that we pass on a healthy economy and an educated, empowered workforce to the next generation of leaders.
- As of April 2018, more than 253,000 Florida children do not have health insurance — the ninth largest number in the nation . Because of that, they do not receive adequate care and do not seek prompt treatment when they are ill.
- One of every 16 Florida children languish without coverage.
- Estimates indicate that early screening and treatment of children with developmental and behavioral delays can save $30,000 to $100,000 per child over the long run.
- Research by The Washington Economics Group shows that every dollar spent by the state to improve the health and well-being of children creates an aggregate total of $4.55 in economic output. That is a return of 455 percent on investment.
What We Propose
- We must insure all of Florida’s children. Most of Florida’s uninsured children are already eligible for Florida KidCare, our state’s health insurance program for children without private insurance, but many parents don’t know that their children are eligible or may not know how to enroll in the program. We must launch a grassroots and mass media effort to make sure that all of Florida’s families have the facts about KidCare and, if eligible, can enroll. We also must expand KidCare eligibility to children of state employees and to families that earn 201-300 percent of the federal poverty line in order to take advantage of federal funding and enroll more kids.
- We must expand the availability of services such as Early Steps, Child Find and Help Me Grow to prevent children from slipping through the cracks. Florida must address these persistent issues: The absence of statewide coordination of services and funding. The failure to share best interventions. Service gaps. No assurance of timely access to service. Insufficient high-quality data to evaluate outcomes.
- Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions – Rand Corporation. Discusses the impacts that early intervention has on multiple areas of young children’s lives as well as the positive financial effects that early intervention has for society.
- The Impact of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): What Does the Research Tell Us? – Kaiser Family Foundation. Discusses CHIP, the role it plays, and its importance.
- Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! – US Department of Education. A resource from the US DoE that helps parents understand important developmental mile stones for their child and offers guidance about early screening.
- The Importance of Screening – American Academy of Pediatrics. This guide talks about the various types of screenings available to children and their families as well as why these are all important.
- Promoting Optimal Development: Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Problems – American Academy of Pediatrics. This report from the AAP talks about the importance of screening for emotional and behavioral problems and why they are important.
Disclaimer: These links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or approval by The Children’s Movement of Florida or its affiliate organizations and partners.