Florida lawmakers did not approve more than $50 million in federal child-abuse prevention funds that were tied to the Obama administration's healthcare reform package.
Many lawmakers are against the health care reform package on philosophical grounds.
The money offered under the Affordable Health Care Act would have paid for a visiting nurse program run by Health Families Florida. It is one
of the most successful child abuse prevention programs in United States. However, Healthy Families' budget has been cut by $10 million
Now Healthy Families may encounter losing a four-year block grant worth an extra $100 million in federal funds since federal Race to the
Top educational-reform efforts are tied to the child-abuse prevention program.
This is just crazy, said Gwen Wurm, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami, and a board member of the Our
Kids foster care agency. This is the model for what you want in a prevention program. They have proven results.
Healthy Families was founded in 1998 with a budget of $10 million and this program would provide trained home visitors to work with young
parents, who based off their responses to a questionnaire, were at risk for abusing or neglecting their children.
The visitors provide guidance on all things from healthy eating habits and early childhood development to identify safety hazards, such as
pools and sweltering, sealed automobiles. Lots of the trained visitors were nurses and served as resources for these parents.
Healthy Families model is a particularly effective program with its hands-on visitations and solid parent advice on how to care for their children. Due to the program it is saving states million of dollars in the future from costs linked to foster care, delinquency, and health care.