In a special opinion piece that recently ran in the St Petersburg Times, James P. McHale of the University of South Florida chronicles a compelling report, entitled “Investing in Florida’s Children: Good Policy, Smart Economics,” that was assembled by researchers at Florida State University. The data they report is almost beyond belief. Here’s a quick peek:
Florida ranks 47th in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.
Florida is ninth-worst in the country in child abuse deaths. Nonetheless, the 2010 Florida Legislature cut our state’s Healthy Families program, which effectively prevents child abuse before it occurs.
Florida’s average wages of $9 per hour without benefits contributes to child care staff turnover rates of 30 to 40 percent.
Florida serves less than 25 percent of infants and toddlers eligible for federally sponsored Early Head Start, a comprehensive, high-quality program with demonstrated positive outcomes.
Florida is ranked at the bottom in national spending for prekindergarten. We are the only state to actually decrease funding for pre-K two years in a row.