Child advocates: Florida bad for children
Just when you thought the news couldn't get any more grim, a group of child advocates gathered in Tallahassee on Wednesday to say that the Sunshine State is bad for kids. From high infant mortality rates to cuts in services for children to the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation, key indicators show that Florida is just not a good place to raise your kids. So say several children's advocates, including the widow and son of former Gov. Lawton Chiles.
"Florida is now firmly ensconced in the hall of shame in terms of the welfare of children," said Lawton "Bud" Chiles III at a press conference with his mother, Rhea Chiles, and other child advocates on Wednesday.
The Chiles family started the Lawton Chiles Foundation after the death of Chiles on Dec. 12, 1998. Chiles' signature issue, they said, was his commitment to children.
David Lawrence, Jr., chairman of The Children’s Trust and president of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, said in a news release that he has not seen the economy this bad, "but shame on us if we use this time as an excuse not to do what is right and wise on behalf of our children.”
-- Sherry Robinson
[Photo: Associated Press of then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Lawton Chiles kicking off Florida Children's Week 1997.]