Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Focuses on the Health and Well-Being of Florida Children During 2018 Children’s Week

For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2018

Florida Children and Youth Cabinet Focuses on the Health and Well-Being of Florida Children During 2018 Children’s Week 

TALLAHASSEE – In recognition of Children’s Week, leaders from the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet came together today on the steps of the Old Capitol to promote the health and well-being of Florida’s children. For the past 23 years, this event has strengthened Florida’s families by sharing a commitment to improving communities through events and outreach efforts. Members of the cabinet addressed its current priorities, including focusing on early childhood development, the effect of substance abuse on children, significant behavioral health issues in children and teens, and child poverty.

“Children’s Week is an important time to recognize and promote initiatives that improve the self-sufficiency, safety, health, and quality of life of Florida’s children,” said Chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet and nationally recognized leader in juvenile justice Wansley Walters. “Working together, agencies, organizations, and communities can have a real impact on enhancing the lives of children and families.”

“Every child deserves to be safe, healthy, and educationally and developmentally on track and an essential element to this is to have healthy parents and a supportive community,” Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Mike Carroll said. “We are committed to the continued integration of substance abuse and mental health services and the child welfare system because early intervention in the life of a struggling family, child, or parent, can make all the difference in their lives.”

“We now know that your ZIP code is a more important predictor of one’s health than your genetic code. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as living in poverty, can have long-term effects on a person’s ability to live a healthful life,” said Dr. Celeste Philip, Surgeon General & Secretary, Department of Health. “Early interventions such as screening for ACEs, teaching children how to cope with toxic stress and promoting trauma-informed care can mitigate these impacts and improve lifelong health and quality of life.”

“By age 2, a baby’s brain has reached 80 percent of its adult size. The quality of experiences from the prenatal stage until a child's third birthday, i.e. those during the first 1,000 days of life build either a strong or fragile foundation for all experiences that follow,” said Diana Ragbeer, Managing Director, Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe. “After that, early learning or School Readiness programs improve language skills and help reduce the achievement gap, resulting in kindergarten readiness, early grade success, and success in life. Pay attention to the first 5 years of life and you can change everything!”

Children’s Week brings together more than 5,000 children, parents, advocates, teachers, and communities to the Florida Capitol each year to celebrate children and families, highlighting the critical issues they face. This annual event exemplifies how the collaboration of local and statewide organizations come together under “One Voice.”

Media Contact: David Frady, DCF Press Secretary, 850-717-4611