November 17, 2021

Florida had improved on factors that influence childhood success before the pandemic

This post was last updated on December 8, 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.

Bailey LeFever writes:

"Before the pandemic, several counties in the greater Tampa Bay region were improving on factors that influence healthy childhood development, according to the newly released Florida Child Well-Being Index.

The report, compiled by the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], uses several years of data through 2020, collected during the annual Kids Count survey. It ranks counties based on 16 factors including poverty rates, education, birth weight and the number of uninsured children, said Norín Dollard, director of Florida Kids Count.

'Heading into the pandemic, indicators were improving,' Dollard said. 'We were building a foundation. Not to say that we didn't have work to do, but we had been making strides.'"


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