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.

What Would It Take Florida?

The 2016 Data Book just came out and, sadly, our great state is still not faring so well in the rankings. On overall child well-being we ranked 40th in the nation. Florida KIDS COUNT has been sharing the new data on our blog and website, through Twitter and Facebook, and through a bunch of interviews that appeared in print, the web and the radio all over the state. The data reinforces what everyone knows – we need to focus on improving things for our most vulnerable citizens. But instead of lamenting our ranking of 40th for too long, we decided to ask 'What Would It Take Florida?' to see what it would take to attain the number #1 ranking in the nation for each child well-being domain included in the 2016 Data Book. We decided to turn our bad news into something actionable, and we do so with a special shout out to our colleagues in Alabama and Delaware who thought up this great idea.

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that over the next few months we will be looking at each domain of the KIDS COUNT Florida data profile and each of the indicators that comprise the domain in greater detail. We will look at each indicator nationally, statewide, and then, for each domain and indicator, we ask what would it take for Florida to be the best state in the nation for children and families? Follow along on Twitter at #WWITFL.

 

What Would it Take Florida to Rank #1 in Economic Well-Being?

In looking at the domain entitled Economic Well-Being, Florida ranked 44th out of the 50 states. In two of the four areas – children living in households with high housing cost burdens and teens not in school and not working – we improved between 2008 and 2014. With respect to the percent of children living in poverty and children whose parents lack secure employment, we fared worse in 2014 than in 2008. Even in our areas of improvement, like the housing indicator, we still have 41% of children whose families spend at least a third of their income on housing, which doesn’t leave a lot of money for other things families might need or want to care for their children. So how many children does that effect? Find out by downloading our 'What Would It Take Florida?' information sheet on economic well-being. You can also follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook to see data, examples and resources to help you in your efforts to reduce child poverty across Florida.

Download the 'What Would It Take Florida?' Florida’s Economic Well-Being Information Sheet

 

What Would It Take Florida to Rank #1 in Education?

Are you passionate about education? Us too! In this domain, we rank 30th out of the 50 states. Here’s some good news. When talking about very young children not in school, we are above the national average in terms of the number in school. Here’s the bad news. We are losing ground and fare worse on this indicator than in 2008 despite the fact that every 4 year old in our state can go to preschool through our Voluntary Prekindergarten program. How about proficiency in math and reading? Our fourth graders have improved in reading since 2008, but more than half still are not proficient readers. How about math? Fewer eighth graders were proficient in math in 2014 than they were in 2008. Just to close on a high note, more of our high school students graduated on time. But again, we ask the question…how many more would need to graduate on time for Florida to rank first in the nation? Find out by downloading our 'What Would It Take Florida?' information sheet on educational outcomes. You can also follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook to see data, examples and resources to help you in your efforts to improve the educational achievement of children across Florida.

Download the 'What Would It Take Florida?' Florida’s Education Information Sheet

 

What Would It Take Florida to Rank #1 in Health?

Florida has the most work to do in our health domain, as we rank very near the bottom - a 47 out of the 50 states. We should take this as a very serious call to action! Even with this dismal news, Florida continues to make strides on all of its health indicators. We just have not improved as much as some other states, hence our ranking. Between 2008 and 2014, we have improved on all of our health indicators, as evidenced by fewer numbers of low birthweight babies being born, more children with health insurance, fewer child and teen deaths, and fewer adolescents abusing alcohol and drugs. Still, we have work to do to continue to improve, especially in some of our at-risk communities and among communities of color. So we ask you Florida, What Would It Take to be #1, rather than #47? Find out by downloading our 'What Would It Take Florida?' information sheet on health. You can also follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook to see the data and consider the examples and resources that can improve health indicators for Florida’s children and families.

Download the 'What Would It Take Florida?' Florida’s Health Information Sheet

 

What Would it Take Florida to Rank #1 in Family and Community?

These last few months we have been pondering the question of what would it take for Florida to rank #1 in education, in health, and in the economic domain. We now turn our attention to family and community indicators. For family and community, Florida was ranked #35 in the number of children living in single parent households, children living in families where the head of household lacked a high school diploma, children living in high poverty areas and in the number of teen births per 1,000. Frankly the picture is a mixed bag. Since 2008, we have improved in the education level of the household and in the number of teens giving birth. (Hooray!) However, we have more children living in single parent households (40%) and sadly, whereas we had 8% of children living in areas of high poverty in 2008, we now have 15% of Florida’s children living in such areas. That’s more than a half a million of our kids. But its not a lost cause. We can do something. Come see how by downloading our 'What Would It Take Florida?' information sheet on family and community. You can also follow us on Twitter and visit us on Facebook to see exactly how many families and children this is. Come and explore the data and look at the resources we can use to improve family and community wellbeing for Florida’s children and families.

Download the 'What Would It Take Florida?' Florida’s Family and Community Information Sheet

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