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FCSC 2009 State Policy Package Print

Common Purpose

2009 State Policy Package

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Partnering with key stakeholders, agencies and officials, CSCs work to improve the lives of Florida’s children. CSCs provide innovative leadership and vision to community, state and national initiatives that promise a brighter future for children. Most CSCs in Florida generate a dedicated source of funding from property taxes, as approved by the voters in their counties. Sixty-four percent of Florida’s children live in a county with a CSC. In these communities, CSCs strategically invest taxpayer dollars in programs that yield high returns for children and their families.

Other Issues
Public Policy Accomplishments
Guiding Principles

 

Primary Legislative Issues

Funding for Children’s Programs
QUALITY CHILD CARE
RESTORE and PROTECT child care funding for working families whose employment is critical to the state’s economic health. PROVIDE funding or infants and toddlers who are on the child care waiting list.

ASSURE child care funding is sufficient to match and maximize all federal funds available to Florida. MAINTAIN state funds for matching local dollars invested by local businesses in their communities through the Child Care Executive Partnership Pool.


UNIVERSAL PRE-KINDERGARTEN
SEEK demographic data on the children enrolled (e.g., economic status, race and/or national origin, primary language, mother’s education) and their educational settings (e.g., teacher credentials, form of accreditation if any, what curricula used) so that
policies are created to ensure the program meets the constitutional mandate of “high quality.”

SUPPORT efforts to adequately assess kindergarten readiness by conducting both pre- and post-assessment tests.


CHILDREN’S HEALTH
KIDCARE

PURSUE legislative efforts to simplify the administration of Florida KidCare. REMOVE barriers to enrollment and streamline the program, including allowing for electronic determination of income, eliminating income verification for non subsidized applicants, reducing waiting periods, and providing a full-pay option for children ages 0-1. ASSURE families receive information about the program through schools, service providers and other methods.

ENSURE full funding for all children eligible for the KidCare Program.

HEALTHY START
MONITOR Florida’s Medicaid Reform efforts to ensure that any changes to Florida’s Medicaid program do not result in limiting access or the capping of needed benefits for families, including pregnant women and children. In particular, monitor the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment benefit of the Medicaid program.

ENSURE that implementation in additional counties occurs only after careful and independent evaluation of the existing pilot programs, and explicit legislative approval.

 


OTHER ISSUES

EARLY STEPS
SUPPORT the Early Steps intervention program to provide critical assessment and case management services for young children ages birth to 3 who may have a physical, speech or other developmental delay, or who are involved in the dependency system. REQUEST that Medicaid eligible children in the Early Steps Program be held harmless from the Pre-Paid Medical Therapy Program.

HEALTHY FAMILIES
PRESERVE existing funds and SUPPORT more adequate funding for the Healthy Families Florida program, a proven child abuse prevention program.

CHILD SAFETY
SUPPORT a mandatory requirement that an approved child restraint device (booster seat plus seat belt) be used for children ages 4-8 while riding in motor vehicles to close the gap in existing child safety law.

REQUIRE background checks for summer camp personnel who work in summer camp programs.

211 NETWORKS
SUPPORT legislation that funds and establishes a statewide 211 network. The building of the capacity of this system is essential in order to provide streamlined access to health and human services, as well as proper disaster response and recovery efforts.

PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION
RETAIN the Public Records Exemption in s.125.901 (11), F.S, as recommended by the Florida Senate Interim Report 2009-203. The exemption protects from public disclosure personal identifying information of a child or a child’s parent that is held by a CSC or service provider under CSC contract.

CHILD WELFARE
INDEPENDENT LIVING/FOSTER CARE
ENSURE that all eligible foster children receive Road to Independence program support through adequate funding, inclusive eligibility requirements and expanded needs assessment so they may enter society as healthy and capable adults. Fully provide support options for the foster care system available under the Federal Independent Living Act, including optional extended foster care placement,
comprehensive planning for independent living, and Medicaid services for the post-18 foster care population until age 21.

ENSURE that additional funding reductions do not occur for community based care programs, adoption subsidies and child protective services. PURSUE legislation to establish a mechanism for relative caregivers to obtain legal authority for children in their custody. PRESERVE funding for the Florida Kinship Center, which provides services for children living with relatives and avoids placement in child
welfare programs.

ENSURE that children with developmental disabilities who are in state custody continue to receive priority status for obtaining services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

JUVENILE JUSTICE
ENSURE the Department of Juvenile Justice provides front-end prevention programs with proven track records and “best practice” results. PRESERVE funding for Juvenile Assessment Centers (JACs) in areas with high need and utilization, and preserve funding for effective girls’ programs. PRESERVE CINS/FINS funding.

MODIFY current zero tolerance policies to provide for school suspensions and evidence-based diversion in lieu of mandatory expulsions for youth exhibiting non-threatening behavior.

SUPPORT efforts to seal and expunge juvenile records, thereby removing barriers to continuing education and employment.

THE FLORIDA CHILDREN AND YOUTH CABINET
MONITOR property tax developments.
MONITOR and participate in the OPPAGA study on after school programs.

PROPERTY TAX AND OTHER ECONOMIC STABILITY ISSUES
SUPPORT efforts to promote fair tax policies for working families. OPPOSE predatory financial products that reduce savings and perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
MONITOR property tax and any other tax proposals that may negatively impact critical children’s programs.
SUPPORT removing the cap on the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, and ensuring that all funds are used for affordable housing.

MEDICAID REFORM
MONITOR Florida’s Medicaid Reform efforts to ensure any changes to Florida’s Medicaid program do not result in limiting access or capping needed benefits for families, including pregnant women and children. In particular, monitor the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment benefit of the Medicaid program.
ENSURE that implementation of Medicaid Reform in additional counties and/or with special populations occurs only after careful and independent evaluation of the existing pilot programs, and explicit legislative approval.

COVER FLORIDA
MONITOR implementation of the Cover Florida Health Insurance Program to ensure families receive adequate benefits at a fair cost, and that the program is coordinated with other children’s health insurance programs, such as KidCare, Early Steps, and Medicaid.

 


PUBLIC POLICY ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Together with other child advocacy organizations and state government partners, the FCSC has advanced public policy on behalf of Florida’s children and families in the following areas:

  • Advocated for the creation of a Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, a direct outgrowth of the 2006 Children’s Summit, which FCSC helped organize and underwrite.
  • Organized a major collaborative around children’s health that has restored community outreach, begun the restoration of funding for the Healthy Kids program and the development of administrative changes to the KidCare program to allow additional children to be enrolled.
  • Prevented major reductions in child care funding proposed through a new funding formula.
  • Supported funding increases/prevented funding reductions for community based care organizations.
  • Supported the prioritization of children from the child welfare system receiving services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).
  • Supported funding increases for the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program.
  • Supported improvements to the independent living program for youth aging out of the foster care system.
  • Supported the development of a thorough study and analysis of current funding and need for before and after school programs.
  • Established itself as a credible source of information, and as a participant in initiatives on children’s issues.

 


 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

LOCAL FLEXIBILITY
OPPOSE any effort to impose restrictions on the ability of local communities to determine the use of their local resources to develop, implement and administer programs that address the needs of children and families.

QUALITY PROGRAMMING
SUPPORT appropriate levels of funding for evidence-based policies and programs that incorporate best practice models in order to ensure
healthy children, stable families and safe and supportive communities.

ADEQUATE & EQUITABLE FUNDING
SUPPORT funding formulas and streams for programs affecting children and families that are adequate and equitable, and that respect regional economic differences. PROTECT funding for all existing children’s programs.

MAXIMIZING AND LEVERAGING REVENUE
SUPPORT efforts to increase Florida’s revenue streams. ENSURE that available federal, local and private dollars for children’s programs are fully
maximized.

UNFUNDED MANDATES
OPPOSE legislation requiring local jurisdictions to perform services or to fund programs not funded by the state and not approved by local
jurisdictions.