We all know that children can’t vote. So, who is looking out for them when it comes to legislation?
For the past 24 years, Children’s Week has been the only broad-based promotion of children and family issues in Florida. The annual event occurs during the legislative session to highlight the importance of this population when considering legislation. It is supported by more than 100 nonprofit, corporate, philanthropic, faith-based, state agencies and organizations, including Staywell.
Children’s Week brings thousands of parents, children, policy makers, community leaders and concerned citizens together to share valuable knowledge and information about children’s issues in each community across the state. The goal is to help strengthen Florida’s families by sharing a commitment to improve our communities through child-focused legislation and outreach efforts aimed at promoting the health, safety and well-being of our children.
Based on Florida’s rankings in the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, there is work to be done to improve the quality of life for Florida’s children. The report reveals improved outcomes, but there are still troubling disparities among children of color and those from low-income and immigrant families. According to the rankings, Florida ranked 34 out of 50 in child well-being.
The report observed Florida lagging behind the national average in three of the four indicators of the health domain. It also called for more investments in programs to reduce the number of low birth-weight babies, child and teen deaths and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs.
As a reminder to legislators and advocates that we must do more for our children, Children’s Week opens with the Hanging of the Hands. More than 100,000 paper cutouts of children’s hands, decorated by children and their teachers, are collected from childcare centers, schools and even at our WellCare Welcome Rooms, and hung throughout the Capitol Rotunda. Hanging of the Hands provides a visual reminder of the children who are impacted by the policy decisions made by the legislature.
We manage the healthcare for more than 1 million members, including nearly 700,000 children from across the state, reaching one in 20 people in the state through our health plans. We are proud of our dedication to children and families, and we will continue to advocate for children and all Floridians to have access to quality healthcare.
Tanya Hillary, Vice President, CMS Operations
Tanya oversees WellCare’s partnership with the Florida Department of Health in managing the Children’s Medical Services Health Plan, which covers more than 66,000 children and youth with special healthcare needs under the age of 21 who are either in the traditional Medicaid program or in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.