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Florida Fans Step Up for Kids

More than 30,000 fans packed Tropicana Field on Saturday night for the Tampa Bay Rays-Boston Red Sox baseball game.  A message on the jumbotron during pre-game festivities encouraged fans to “Step Up for Kids”. Fans of all ages were directed to the Community Corner hosted by Children’s Campaign staff, apprentices and volunteers.  Fans posed with various props using the tagline #IVoteforKids. The guest photographer was long time child advocate Jack Levine. Step Up for Kids in Florida – sponsored by The Children’s Campaign and Every Child Matters – is gearing up early to make an impact during the electoral cycle....

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Barcelo and Bundy in the News

The Children’s Campaign and Voices for Florida congratulate two of our longtime supporters and advisers on their recent accomplishments. Bruce Barcelo, a highly regarded state, national and international political consultant and valued counsel to The Children’s Campaign, was inducted in June into the Junior Achievement of North Florida Hall of Fame. Junior Achievement emphasizes the importance of education while providing students both experience and knowledge fundamental to future success in a business career. In addition to being an elite supporter of the JA program, Bruce has developed over a 20-year span an expertise on public opinion polling related to children’s...

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New Laws Aim to Protect
Victims of Sex Trafficking

Two new laws championed by The Children’s Campaign and the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center will shape Florida’s treatment of child victims of sex trafficking. The first, formerly known as HB 7141, takes effect next week. It sets the stage to improve how the Department of Children and Families (DCF) assesses sexually exploited children and assists in their recovery. New guidelines have been set up for safe houses and safe foster homes that shelter and care for these child victims. Also under the law, special training will be required for certain employees working with exploited children, and a statewide council...

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Bill to Help Victims of Sex Trafficking
Awaits Governor’s Signature

The Children’s Campaign and the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center call on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to sign HB 7141, further protecting and supporting domestic minor victims of sex trafficking.  The new legislation builds on the good Safe Harbor Act, which went into effect last year. Sponsors of the new legislation – Rep. Gayle Harrell, Chair of the House Healthy Families Subcommittee, and Sen. Eleanor Sobel, Chair of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee – showed vision and wisdom when steering the bill through the legislative process.  The governor can and should follow their lead to help children...

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Stay True to Yourselves

Think big. Start small. Never give up. That’s the advice longtime children’s advocate Roy Miller delivered to graduates in the School of Social Work at his alma mater, Florida State University. Miller, an alumnus of the social work program and president of The Children’s Campaign, told students – including two PAC apprentices – to expect stumbles and setbacks in the years ahead but to hold fast to their hopes, ideals and dreams. He started on a humble and humorous note, listing more important and prominent leaders who have been tapped for commencement addresses, such as Oprah Winfrey at Harvard last...

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Building on Safe Harbor

For the first time in weeks, we can look past the debate over locking up victims of sex trafficking and talk about how best to help them. The shift in conversation is largely attributed to the wise leadership of Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) and Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). It also marks the return of basing legislative decisions on research and best practice rather than on the anecdotal and over sensationalized stories frequently offered up by providers. The legislation, which has cleared the House and awaits Senate action, no longer includes the controversial provision to involuntarily detain victims of rape and abuse...

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Know the Facts on Locking Up
Child Abuse and Rape Victims

Information is power, but there’s a surprising number of policymakers operating in the dark on the issue of Safe Harbor and locking up victims. For starters, let’s be clear: These children – girls and boys – are victims of abuse, rape and other unspeakable acts. Safe Harbor, which took effect last year, recognized this fact. The good direction of that legislation is why we today consider exploited children victims, not criminals. But now we’re looking at setting a precedent in Florida. For the first time, we’re talking about confining victims of abuse and rape against their will. The ill-founded notion...

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UPDATE: Senate Sex Trafficking Bill Changes Number

For those of you working diligently to remove the “secure” language from the sex trafficking bills please note: SB 7088 is now SB 1724. Please update your talking points to reflect this change. This Legislation returns the state to locking up vulnerable children.  Victims of child abuse and child rape could be held against their will for as long as 10 months in psychiatric units, detention-like facilities, or so-called “secure” locations that are little more than residential jails. There’s no research to support that such a strategy works.  Consequences: Already exploited by their trafficker, victims held against their will would face re-victimization...

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Media Expose Florida’s Flaws

Two different stories. Two venerable news organizations. One heartbreaking, similar theme: Florida can do better by its children. An investigation by the Miami Herald into deaths related to the child welfare system and a report by PolitiFact Florida on the real story behind Gov. Rick Scott’s boastful tweet about Florida’s pre-K program point out failings in how the state protects and educates its children. We applaud the two organizations for highlighting these issues. They are top priorities for The Children’s Campaign and our supporters. We wish we could say the news reports are surprising. But they are not. Too often...

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Safe Harbor Under Attack

Download and share Return to Unsafe Harbor? today! Florida’s Safe Harbor Act is in peril. And it’s the vulnerable child victims of sex trafficking who are in jeopardy. An effort is underway with some members of the Florida House of Representatives to again lock up vulnerable children.  They could be locked up for as long as 10 months in psychiatric units, detention-like facilities, or so-called  “secure” houses that are little more than residential jails. You won’t see the words “lock up” in their proposals, however.  Legislators were advised in a workshop that those words would result in pushback.  So they...

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