“How are the children?” is a traditional greeting of Masai warriors, with the requisite response being, “All the children are well.” But if Central Floridians posed the same question to one another, would we truthfully be able to respond in kind?
The reality is that if the state of Florida were given a report card on how it invests in children, it wouldn’t want to show it to its parents. The Policy Group for Florida’s Children and Families highlighted the following dismal numbers in a recent reported entitled “Investing in Florida’s Children: Good Policy, Small Economics”:
- We have the 2nd highest number of uninsured children in the nation (822,000 or 19%) versus a national average of 11%.
- Our child abuse rate is more than double the national rate (29.6 vs. 12.1 per thousand) and we rank 41st in child abuse deaths.
- We rank 34th out of the 38 states that fund pre-k programs, and we are the only state in the nation to actually decrease funding for pre-K programs 2 years in a row.
The children in Florida — our children — are not well. But if you’re unhappy about the numbers, there is something you can do about it.
Plan now to attend the Central Florida Milk Party Rally on Tuesday, September 14th at the Dr. P. Phillips High School Performing Arts Center (6500 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819) from 6:30- 7:30 p.m.
Organized by the Children’s Movement of Florida, the group is lifting a page from Tea Party activists but with a twist: government should do more, not less, for children.
Let’s all turn out for the rally to show state and local leaders that we have the power to make the well-being and education of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens Florida’s highest priority.
There will be family entertainment, appearances by local celebrities and movement leaders, a video presentation, take home gifts, as well as milk and cookies. This event is free and open to the public. Bring your children, bring your co-workers, bring your friends. Take a stand to ensure that all the children are well.
For more information on The Children’s Movement of Florida and about the current state of Florida’s children, please visit www.childrensmovementflorida.org.
Bridget Healy, MNM, MPA
Manager, United Way Community Investment