I received the following press release that I thought that you all should see. It gives some interesting facts that you should be aware of come election day and even during the primaries.
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
June 12, 2012
CONTACT: Linda Alexionok – Voices for Florida, 850.566.1385
(cell); email@example.com, or John Hall, The
Baldwin Group – 850.322.2212; firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WELL BEING OF CHILDREN – IS OUR
FUTURE AT RISK?
– An extensive analysis of the most recent data available paints a troubling
picture of the well-being of Florida’s
children. Trends show the rate of
negative outcomes (especially for children of color) are increasing and state
general revenue appropriations for programs to improve their status are
These are among the findings
included in a new report – The Well Being
of Children, Is our Future at Risk - released jointly by Voices for Florida and its Minority Issues Action Council (MIAC). The research in this report was made possible through
support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“It is not new that
disparities exist,” said Linda Alexionok, co-director of Voices for Florida. “What is new is that disparities are more
prevalent today than ever before, and growing.
This report dispels the myth that a level playing field exists for all
Cassandra Jenkins, MIAC
chairperson, expressed concern that gaps and hurdles facing children of color
are wider and higher. “Trickle down does
not work nearly as well as direct investment. Further erosion of government
supported programs will result in even more dire numbers.”
Principal researchers for the
report were John Hall and Mike Walsh. Among
- The rate of poverty among Florida’s children has increased by 35%
– climbing from a rate of 17% to 23% with 235,000 more children living in
poverty in 2010 than did four years earlier. 67% of the state’s African
American children, 57% of Hispanic children, and 1.8 million children overall
lived in low income households;
- Significant disparities in infant mortality exist
among various racial and ethnic groups in Florida and it is particularly
prevalent among African Americans. Florida’s rate of
low birth weight infants is worse than the national average;
- The prevalence of children with developmental,
behavioral or social delay is staggering at 10% of the population. In a recent survey, 48% of children in Florida aged two to
seventeen needing mental health care did not receive it;
- The number and percent of children with special
health care needs in Florida
is growing; and,
- The number of homeless students in Florida has almost doubled since 2006 and the rate
of food insecurity among Florida’s
children is worse than the national average.
establishes an objective baseline and sets the stage for measuring the status
of children in the future,” said project researcher John Hall. “Substantial
improvement is needed and essential, especially for children of color, for our state
to successfully compete nationally and globally.”
In the report,
Hall points out that Florida’s
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) has declining caseloads
and expenditures at a time when the poverty rate has increased. “It warrants a closer look,” said Hall. “There are considerable needs among Florida’s children that
are unmet or addressed minimally due to inadequate funding.”
reflect differences and disparities between the ethnic groups. Among them,
- The poverty trend for Florida’s Black or African American
children was highest among all racial and ethnic groups and the rate for Hispanic
or Latino children is growing the fastest;
- Obesity is a major problem, particularly among
Mexican-American boys and non-Hispanic Black girls;
- Black and Hispanic youth trail their white peers
in graduation rates by significant margins;
- Black youth were more than two times as likely to
be referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice than youth in all other
categories, three times more likely to be committed to residential
facilities, and four times more likely to be referred to adult court.
Not all trends
were negative. Among the favorable:
- The rate of births to Florida’s teenagers has dropped;
- The participation rate of Florida’s four-year-olds in pre-kindergarten
has grown from 48.5% in 2005 to a projected 78.7% in 2011-12;
- The number of children entering foster care has
- The arrest rate of juveniles has declined in Florida and the
number of juveniles waived to adult courts has dropped 41% since 2006.
Hall points out that Florida invests more in
tax preferences for special interests than it does in programs for its
children. “Even the best programs can’t
accomplish their mission without adequate funding,” said Hall.
Read the report here.
Voices for Florida, in existence since 1976 (incorporated as the Florida Center for Children & Youth), fosters public policies that improve the quality of life for all Floridians by ensuring the best possible outcomes for children. The Minority Issues Action Council raises awareness and resources for improving public policies important to communities of color.