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Florida’s Lack of Investment in Kids is Showing

Once Again, State Ranks Low for Child Well-Being Florida’s overall child well-being ranking in the recently released 2017 KIDS COUNT report, which ranks states on 16 health, education, economic well-being and family/community indicators, is sobering. The state’s best ranking in recent history was 32nd. Since then, Florida’s child well-being ranking has dropped steadily. Currently the state has sunk to 40th place for the second year in a row. Aside from the significant improvement in the number of Florida children and families having health insurance, there are few positives in the 2017 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released by the Annie E....

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States Rush to Jump on Predictive Analytics Bandwagon

Far too many children die from abuse and neglect in the United States  ̶  around 1600 annually according to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Many states and communities have worked diligently to reduce those numbers with varying degrees of success. Believing in the power and efficiency technology can bring to the solution, child welfare agencies across the country are quickening the pace at which they eagerly embrace “big data” to strategically help them make critical decisions and allocate resources where they are most needed. This new frontier in child welfare, like most uncharted territory, is not without...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition – April 24-28

Policy bills took a backseat last week to intensive budget negotiations, which remained in full swing through much of the weekend. Both House and Senate Budget Committees completed their work this past Saturday, with unresolved issues passed to the Appropriations Chairs. The finalized budget is scheduled to be printed Monday setting up an on-time legislative exit. A budget update edition of Legislative Connection will publish later in the week. In the meantime, here’s a summary of key bills that were heard and passed: Bill Updates HB 693 – A Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) was presented by Representative Alexander (D-Tallahassee). This...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition – April 17-21

The next two weeks of session are the most intense. The finish line comes clearly into sight and the pace quickens. Bills moving through the process either make it or break it. Language in those not moving with savvy sponsors behind them can end up on any number of related subject bills. Good bills we have supported can move into the “no” column if the wrong language shows up. Likewise, “no” can move to “yes” with the right amendments. The Children’s Campaign team, always vigilant, logs even more hours with less rest. We will keep you posted and here’s a...

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Legislative Connection – April 12-13

Legislators only met for two days last week due to the religious holidays. This is a brief release on the work that was completed on Wednesday and Thursday. Budget Update: Low Income Pool (LIP) federal funds totaling $900 million more than last year may help state legislators bridge the budget divide between the Chambers and complete a budget that is still billions apart. LIP provides vital funds to hospitals to help care for poor and uninsured patients. The Senate voted unanimously to support their budget proposal, but used last year’s funding for LIP. The overall Senate budget plan amounts to...

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Chamber Differences Magnified by Budget Process

The House (PCB APC 17-01) and Senate (SPB 2500) Appropriations committees have approved their budget proposals with several billion (that’s a B not an M) differences. It has been a long time since those who walk the halls of the capitol have seen such a wide gap at this point in the process ($81.2 billion proposed in the House and $83.2-billion in the Senate with upwards of a more than $2 billion separation over financing for higher education). Other hot buttons include the Governor’s business recruitment strategies, reducing property taxes that are especially being opposed by cities and counties, hospital...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition – March 27-31 

Before providing our weekly update of legislation moving along, it’s important to recognize Carol Jenkins Barnett, honored at the Children’s Week banquet with the Chiles Advocacy Award for her 30+ years of charitable leadership. The award, named after former Governor Lawton Chiles, and first lady Rhea Chiles, is presented annually to a Floridian who exemplifies integrity, passion and dedication to engaging others in promoting policies and programs benefitting children. Barnett has served on numerous boards of nonprofits across Florida and has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits supporting child well-being. Bill Updates: HB 233 – Students with Disabilities...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition – March 20-24

Welcome to The Children’s Campaign’s Legislative Connection – Bill Update edition. These editions focus on the movement of legislation pertaining to children and provide information about bills heard and/or scheduled to keep you up-to-date or allow you to take action. To track our priority legislation in real-time, please visit our Legislative Center. Bill Updates: SB 60 has made it through its path in the Senate without ever receiving a negative vote. The bill by Senator Bean (R- Jacksonville) makes the Keys to Independence program permanent, providing children in the foster care system with the access and means to obtain their...

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Legislative Connection – Bill Update Edition

The Children’s Campaign is pleased to provide you with the first Legislative Connection – Bill Update edition of the 2017 session. These editions focus on the movement of legislation pertaining to children, providing you with information about bills that were heard and/or scheduled to keep you up-to-date or so you can take action. If you would like to track our priority legislation in real-time, visit our Legislative Center. Bill Updates: HB 581 and SB 1016 According to House staff analysis, 229,311 food stamp (SNAP) recipients in Florida will lose eligibility based on the income and asset limit changes. Children would...

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Unusual Session Begins

If it weren’t for the unusual opening day speeches by Florida’s top leaders, it would have been easy to become distracted from the official start of legislative session to watch a viral live feed of a pregnant giraffe, the fearless girl statue challenging the Wall Street bull or Wolverine’s return to the movie theatre. But, alas, there was enough theatrics in Tallahassee to make the unusual interesting. In his State of the State address, Governor Rick Scott, when not feuding with House Speaker Corcoran over Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, promised to “wake up every day fighting for Florida because...

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