Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Counting For Kids Blog

Welcome to the Florida KIDS COUNT Counting for Kids blog.

2017 Race for Results Policy Report

This past summer, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2017 Databook.  In it, for the second year in a row, Florida ranked 40th among the 50 states in children wellbeing.  That report highlighted the fact that we have a great deal of work to do to support Florida’s children, especially in healthcare and in improving the economic wellbeing of our children.  But this blog is not really about that.  What the Databook 2017 was not able to address is that there are large and growing disparities between Florida’s white children and children of color, who make up more than half of the children and adolescents under the age of 18 (US Census, 2015.) The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 Race for Results report shows that persistent challenges in opportunities for success and well-being after the recession hinder children of color and kids living in immigrant families, especially African-American, Latino and American Indian kids.

Casey has developed an index from 12 indicators ranging from babies born at normal birthweights, to educational achievement in reading and math, to children living above 200% of poverty. This index ranges from ‘0’ to ‘1000’, with higher scores being better than lower scores.  The findings are disturbing.

Florida ranks 28th for African American children with a score of 364, comparable to the national score of 369 but which is well below the average score of 500. Hispanic children in Florida rank better, at #9 nationwide, but the actual score of 524 is only marginally better than average.  Asian children and white children fared about the same as the national average.  One thing we can celebrate is that American Indian children did better than their peers nationwide. 

Other reports confirm these disturbing figures.  The recently issued report on patterns of resegregation in Florida’s schools indicate that Black and Hispanic children are increasingly resegregated not only by race but by poverty and that the children in these resegregated schools do not do as well academically as their white peers  (LeRoy Collins Institute, 2017).  Further, these schools are concentrated in our urban centers.

So what do we do? We make sure all of Florida’s children and families have access to opportunity to do better. We support policies that ensure that parents have meaningful employment that enables them to support their families.  We ensure that we are providing quality educational experiences from preschool on up so that children develop properly. We ensure that all schools are adequately resourced with experienced, well qualified teachers.

It is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.  Families who are able to have meaningful work are able to invest in their children.  Strong families are attractive to employers who need skilled, educated employees to be successful.  Strong healthy children are our state’s best hope.

Race for Results Materials & Resources

2017 Race for Results Policy Report
Florida Press Release
National Press Release (English)
National Press Release (Spanish)
Florida Media summary on this topic

Florida Child Well-Being Index