November 17, 2021

2021 Florida Child Well-Being Index

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

The policy choices we make today should lay the foundation for children to become thriving adults who will join the workforce and contribute to their communities. Smart investments will help cultivate strong families who, in turn, will raise strong, healthy children. To guide these policy choices, we need timely, relevant data that document the challenges and successes facing Florida’s children and families. That’s the impetus behind the 2021 Florida Child Well-Being Index.  

These rankings were developed using KIDS COUNT® data to show where more investments can be made. The outcomes in communities are not accidental. Counties with higher rankings tend to be well-resourced places, where families can afford to invest in things like high-quality child care, education, and other opportunities for their children. Counties that rank near the middle tend to have a mixture of well-resourced and less well-resourced areas, such as some larger counties with a combination of big cities and suburban and rural areas. Counties with lower rankings tend to be places that have borne the brunt of the state’s disinvestment in public services and where people face historic barriers to economic opportunity. 

All communities can access shared prosperity when we make wise investments in children and families and have policies in place that close opportunity gaps. As laid out in FPI's Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, data-driven policymaking and investments in the following areas can help to move the needle for Florida’s kids: 

  • prioritizing child well-being and quality of life by preserving and expanding basic household supports like nutrition, housing, and income assistance. 
  • nurturing children by investing in affordable, quality early learning, thriving public schools, and well supported teachers. 
  • building a stronger workforce by expanding access to higher education and job training. 
  • ensuring all Floridians have access to affordable, quality health care. 

KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of The Annie E. Casey Foundation in the United States and/or other countries and is used with permission of the Foundation.

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Improving Access to Quality Early Learning and Child Care

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