Initiatives

Campaign for Grade Level Reading

Florida-GLR logo 42c42m

The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils and Trusts serves as Florida’s state network lead for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. In the fall of 2013, FACCT was approached by national campaign to serve alongside other states in an effort to elevate local Grade Level Reading campaigns across the nation.  As the lead organization, FACCT works closely with local, state and national experts on ways to support local initiatives and develop strategies to expand the work.

Local Florida campaigns are established in Brevard County, Broward County, Delray Beach, Gainesville, Hillsborough County, Indian River County, Jacksonville, Manatee County, Martin County, Miami-Dade County, Orlando/Orange County, Palm Beach County, Pinellas County, Sarasota County, St. Lucie County, Suncoast (Manatee & Sarasota) and Tallahassee. Through the collective impact of the national campaign, local campaigns, business leaders, and funders, our statewide movement will help promote school readiness, combat chronic absenteeism, improve summer learning and engage parents as their children’s first teachers.

Through generous funding provided by the Helios Education Foundation (2015-2021), the Florida GLR Campaign is focused on developing infrastructure to sustain GLR efforts statewide through networks anchored in the tenants of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (School Readiness, Summer Learning & Attendance):

1) Network of Community Leaders—a learning community to share best practices, focus on outcomes, and align efforts. The work and associated outcomes will be used as demonstration efforts of what can and should be accomplished statewide;

2) Early Childhood Policy Thought Leaders—working from analysis on current state investments, child development research, proven system development strategies, and community efforts early childhood experts have develop a platform for systemic change that is focused on improved child and family outcomes;

3) Florida Business Leaders Alliance—in partnership with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the business sector will work to increase the prominence, funding, and understanding of critical early childhood initiatives; and

By anchoring this work in the Grade Level Reading framework, we will organize existing efforts and expand the work to improve coordination and alignment of work and make significant progress on grade level reading outcomes for children.  Although each Florida GLR community is as unique as the community it serves, the shared vision for all Florida’s children to read proficiently by third grade is the priority for all.  Please join us in our collective effort to bring attention to the importance of grade level reading!

For more information on Florida’s Grade Level Reading Campaign, visit www.FloridaGLR.net, or contact Jenn Faber, Director of Grade Level Reading at jfaber@FACCT.com or 239-432-0051.

2GEN

There is growing recognition in Florida that systemic approaches are needed to simultaneously address the needs of both families and children in poverty. This is known as the two-generational approach, or 2Gen. The Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils and Trusts is dedicated to working with strategic leadership and partners on the 2Gen approach to identify more effective policies to improve economic stability and strengthen outcomes for children and families in poverty.

Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty. Poverty greatly impedes children’s ability to learn and contributes to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health.

Approximately 45% of children in Florida are from low-income households. Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. But effective public policies and investments can make a difference.

State Policy Development

With growing recognition of the need for systemic approaches to strengthen resources and supports for families in poverty, coordinated strategies on social system development improvements and reform will be critical to maximize the policy opportunities that will be emerging in the next many years. The Council has expanded work and collaboration with state agency leadership, the Florida Chamber, and other key partners to improve public policies and increase coordination of services that would better support children and families in poverty.

As part of this effort, FACCT has conducted analysis of social service policies and identified systemic policy change that better supports the needs of children and families in poverty. Although work support benefits have helped recipients maintain employment and survive on limited incomes, often the programs unintentionally create disincentives for progression along a wage or career path necessary to move a household permanently out of poverty. Through the analysis of current policies for social services, FACCT has documented the presence of “cliff effects” for families with young children that challenge the economic stabilization for families in poverty. With social service supports, just as families are on the pathway to economic self-sufficiency, most social services have strict eligibility requirements that limit a family’s ability to achieve financial security and independence.

To best support the development of young children, a two-generational approach is necessary to ensure stability and security for the whole family. As a result, FACCT’s recommendations for more effective policies are focused on system integration opportunities and strategies that better coordinate and align supports for children and families in poverty.

Demonstration Communities: Families’ Ascent to Economic Security (FATES)

While intentional, focused work on state policy is needed to increase understanding and knowledge on the opportunities for comprehensive, integrated approaches to social services that better meet the needs of families, there is also need to demonstrate approaches and models not bound by current federal regulations and statutory policies. To advance this work, the Florida Alliance of Children’s Councils and Trusts received grant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to first develop and now implement a community model of system integration designed to strengthen supports for families and provide a roadmap for the long-term state and federal policy alignment on poverty. Leadership from Children’s Services Councils, CareerSource, and Early Learning Coalitions are partnering in Martin and St. Lucie Counties to integrate workforce and early learning services that support low-income families.

The FATES alignment strategies have been designed to support two overarching goals: 1) economic security through access to achievable workforce development opportunities that include high-wage/high-demand industry sector career lattices and 2) stronger child outcomes through continuity of quality child care and reduction of toxic stress. Critical to this work is the mitigation of the child care fiscal cliff through a graduated phase out that provides continued financial supports for families at decreasing levels as wages increase. The resulting platform is the centerpiece of innovation to strengthen family outcomes and greatly inform community practices, as well as state and federal policy.

FATES Cohort 1 Report

For more information, read FACCT’s report – Two Generational Approach: Focused Policies for Improved Outcomes.

2Gen Approach Report 2018

Learn more about our partner The Florida Chamber Foundation.