Dateline: [TALLAHASSEE, FL] — With Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session imminent, the Florida Coalition for Children held its annual Rally in Tally February 21st and 22nd where FCC members and Florida lawmakers came together for events held at the Hotel Duval and the Capitol Building.
The FCC Rally in Tally is held each year to draw awareness to the many needs of Florida’s child and family well-being systems. This year, the FCC sought to open discussions on 1) securing an increase to core funding to address the capacity to maintain stable operations and continuity of care under a 6.5% inflation rate, and 2) to highlight the issue of liability insurance coverage with increasing premiums for a competitive workforce marketplace.
“Florida leaders have done an amazing job in making this a business-friendly state,” said FCC CEO and President Kurt Kelly, “We believe it is equally important that we provide a great environment for our not-for-profit businesses to thrive considering the extremely valuable work they do.”
Groups have also voiced the need to 3) create a customized full continuum of care exclusively designed to serve youth with complex needs to close policy gaps that inhibit providers from more effectively serving multisystem children and youth with complex needs. A blended funding pilot demonstration project for crossover/multi-system youth in or at risk of entering the child welfare system was named a top priority.
FCC Executive Vice President Dr. Patricia Nellius said, “It is our goal to avail the youth of Florida every opportunity to heal, grow, and thrive. Creating a single point of entry to a service continuum specifically designed to address the needs of crossover youth will increase the likelihood of positive outcomes and successful futures.”
The Selfless Love Foundation, along with One Voice Impact, brought together youth and young adults who have lived experience in the Florida foster care and child welfare system to perform for an audience of lawmakers, FCC members, and other stakeholders during Tuesday’s Rally Reception at the hotel Duval. The former fostered youth shared their plans for future business ventures as finalists in the annual “Dream Tank” competition.
Earlier that day, legislative training was delivered to over 75 FCC members by the Coalition’s Legislative Team in preparation for meetings with various legislators at the Capitol Wednesday.
At Wednesday’s Kick Off breakfast event on the 22nd floor of the Capitol, Senator Corey Simon addressed the crowd with a message that outlined his personal call to serve the citizens of Florida and its families before approximately 150 attendees.
Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris spoke next about the importance of the core joint mission of the FCC, its members, and DCF in improving children’s lives, and at the conclusion, Rally attendees moved into the halls of the Capitol to meet with lawmakers on the beforementioned topics of focus as well as individual needs to be addressed within their communities.
Corporate sponsors who helped make the event possible included Aetna Better Health, Selfless Love Foundation, Sunshine Health, Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Stabilify, and Acadia Health.