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The Children’s Movement of Florida, our lead ally in the state, is the leading voice in Florida championing policies and investments for high-quality early learning opportunities, health care access, and parent support. The Movement is chairing the state’s Early Learning Consortium, a collaboration of state-level organizations working to ensure that policies for young children from birth to kindergarten effectively support their growth, development, and readiness for success in school and life.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 42% (824,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 50% (984,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing

On June 15, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the fiscal 2024 budget after vetoing $510.9 million in spending. The budget totals $116.5 billion, an increase of $5.6 billion, or 5.1 percent, compared to the fiscal 2023 budget (as cited in the governor’s recommended budget FAQs). The general revenue portion of the fiscal 2024 budget is $46.1 billion, an increase of $3.4 billion, or 7.96 percent. The March 2023 revenue estimating conference estimated net general revenues of $45.3 billion for fiscal 2024, a decrease of 2.1 percent from the new fiscal 2023 forecast of $46.3 billion. The state has total reserves of $15.3 billion, including $6.8 billion in unallocated general revenue and $4.1 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund.3

Largest FY 2021 Revenue Sources (after federal transfers):4

    • Property Taxes: $1,642 per capita
    • Charges: $1,595 per capita

Charges are public payments connected with a specific government service, such as tuition paid to a state university, payments to a public hospital, or highway tolls. Florida does not levy an individual income tax.

Political Alignment: Aligned Republican

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Republican controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Republican.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  Seven

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – An amendment to a state’s constitution that comes about through the initiative process.
    • Commission-Referred Amendments: Ballot measures that are ordered to appear on a state’s ballot through the authority of a commission, which itself has been given that authority by a prior act of the state’s legislature or in a constitutional amendment.
    • Advisory Questions – A type of ballot measure in which citizens vote on a non-binding question. 
    • Automatic Ballot Referrals – A ballot measure that is set under state law or a state’s constitution to automatically appear as a statewide ballot question under certain circumstances. 
    • Constitutional Convention Referrals – A ballot measure asking the people to approve or disapprove of holding a convention.
    • Legislature-Initiated State Statutes – A proposed statute added to the ballot by the legislature for approval or disapproval by voters.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

2023 Policy Progress:

In fiscal 2024, $100 million in new, recurring funds will support School Readiness, Florida’s subsidized child care program. Another $20.6 million will allow tens of thousands of children to access Florida KidCare, following a bipartisan effort to address the eligibility cliff for children’s health care.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

HB 121/SB 246 expanded eligibility for Florida KidCare, which provides affordable health and dental insurance for children, from 215% FPL to 300%. The House estimates an additional 42,000 children will be eligible for KidCare.

Florida’s VPK again received a funding boost (from $2,803 for the 2022-2023 school year to $2,941). An increase of $20 million will fund the increased base student allocation. $100 million new dollars will flow into our subsidized child care program, School Readiness, in addition to a renewal of $77 million to sustain current enrollment levels. An increase of $2.6 million will support the parent resource program, Help Me Grow.

SB 144/HB 87 requires each county courthouse to provide at least one dedicated lactation space, outside of the confines of a restroom, for members of the public to express breast milk or breastfeed in private. The bill requires the lactation space to be provided no later than January 1, 2024. It must be hygienic, shielded from public view, free from intrusion while occupied, and contain an electrical outlet.

HB 443/SB 986 by was a comprehensive education bill that included two important provisions for early learning: requiring the state to review the availability, quality, relevance, scope, and cost for training for early learning/child care personnel every five years, and providing a clear, online resource for parents to find early learning options for their children.

HB 223/SB 290 will allow the parents of students enrolled in public school VPK programs who have an individualized education plan, or IEP, to decide to retain their student in VPK. It will also provide a new early literacy intervention program for those students. This bill encourages parents to decide what is best to meet the needs of their child with special needs.

Advocates pursued significant child care legislation that was narrowly defeated but will return next session. The proposal includes:

    • early learning tax credits for businesses that subsidize child care for the children of their employees, or open an on-site child care center themselves;
    • streamlined regulations and teacher professional development
    • updated zoning and insurance protections for family child care homes.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Florida, Children’s Movement of Florida, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Pre-School and Pre-K


Child and
Maternal Health

Early Intervention

Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health


Family Economic Security

Early Childhood Infrastructure

Early Childhood Governance

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.



1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: