TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Growing numbers of children are slipping into poverty in Florida and child advocates say that should concern all Floridians.
The annual Kids Count report finds about one in four children is living in poverty in Florida. That number has jumped nearly 30 percent in recent years.
The report ranks Florida 38th overall in the health and education of children.
Roy Miller of The Children's Campaign describes the issue as a ticking time bomb that could cost Florida taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the future.
"When you have that many kids in poverty, it becomes a ticking time bomb. We know it's going to cost huge amounts of money in crime and health care and workforce problems down the road."
Child advocates like Miller believe if state lawmakers would spend more money on proven programs and services, such as prenatal health care and early learning, then Florida could prevent costly future problems.
"We know where we make the right investments, we see better numbers like the improvements that have been made in education and some in health care and where we don't invest we see declining trends and pain and suffering. Why are we making these choices of not helping every child?"
The report ranks Florida even lower on children's economic well-being. On that measure, Florida ranks 44th in the nation.
The Kids Count report is compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
First Coast News