Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Children's Movement of Florida

Many thanks to Vance Aloupis, State Coordinator for The Children's Movement of Florida, for being our guest blogger this week.

by Vance Aloupis

I'd be hard pressed to think of anything more important in a young child's life than a caring, loving and informed parent. The "caring" and "loving" traits are inherent in most parents, but the "informed" parent is few and far between. As a college and law school graduate, I find myself approaching the birth of my first child with hundreds of questions and concerns. They just don't teach you these sorts of things in school.

In January of 2009, The Children's Movement of Florida conducted a statewide poll of 1,515 "likely" voters using both Democrat and Republican pollsters. From the polling data, Florida voters identified five “high-priority issues” that have become The Movement’s agenda:

1. health insurance for all children
2. improving Florida's voluntary pre-K program
3. screening and treatment for children who may have special needs
4. high-quality mentoring programs and;
5. high-quality parent skill-building

With the support of its statewide steering committee, we launched in August 2010 and embarked in September on the "Milk Party" tour which brought together more than 15,000 Floridians across 17 communities and was featured in more than 100 newspaper stories and television clips. Our policy team then authored a 2011 legislative agenda that provides practical and measurable policies that address each of the first five issues mentioned above.

When it comes to parent skill-building, we are advocating for the implementation of a public awareness campaign, to provide much needed information to families on the importance of early development, nurturing parenting and parental involvement. We must also provide and publicize a statewide toll-free phone line and website in English, Spanish and Creole to support the diversity of our communities. These services should build on successful models, such as those in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere in the state. The fiscal note for this program: $10 million. Despite the economic challenges facing our state, we cannot allow the needs of all of our children to be continually overlooked.

Launched only seven months earlier, The Children's Movement of Florida opened the 2011 legislative session with more than 165,000 supporters. Our goal is to reach one million in 2012. We need the support of organizations like Whole Hearted Parenting to share the message that Florida's children can no longer be a lesser priority than roads, prisons and sports stadiums. To achieve real success, we must work together to change the priorities of Tallahassee, and ensure that our elected officials are focusing on the issues that give children the best chances to be successful in school and in life.

Children must be the No. 1 priority.

If you'd like to learn more about The Children's Movement of Florida you can vist our website, accessible via

Vance Aloupis
Statewide Coordinator
The Children's Movement of Florida

1 comment:

  1. As a Florida resident and former child welfare professional, I am so excited about this movement because of the emphasis on providing resources to parents! It's a great cause and I'm excited to see it grow throughout Florida.