Whole Child Leon Offers Ways To Improve Child Development

Aug 31, 2016

Credit Aryanna Duhl

Whole Child Leon’s trying to call attention to health and education challenges facing local kids and families. And as they point out problems,  the group is also offering suggestions on how the community can help.  

The report showcases research and reports on threats to early child development, like inadequate preconception care and family instability. Whole Child’s Executive Director, Courtney Atkins, says “we provide not just information and data points about things like infant mortality and low birth weight, kindergarten readiness, childhood obesity, but we also provide policy and practice recommendations.” 

A list of recommendations includes lobbying the Florida legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, enact paid maternity leave, and create stand-alone health education programs in middle school.

“What we’re hoping this report will do, at the very least, is to really start some very important, necessary conversations about child wellbeing and family stability in our community,” says Atkins. 

Whole Child suggests involvement in child welfare by businesses, civic groups, education providers, government, faith-based organizations, and families. Atkins says the most important thing is raising awareness in the community about these issues, and building cross-community partnerships that will make solutions more accessible.