With the current controversy over the killing of Trayvon Martin for being seen as a “suspicious” black youth and the massive failure on the part of the local police to investigate, I feel it would be relevant to look over Florida’s general record on the rights of the child.
- According to the Commonwealth Fund, Florida ranks 47th in the US for children’s health care.
- Just recently, a budget passed by the state Senate seeks to cut $146 million from Medicaid pediatrics funding. As noted by the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, two out of three children in Florida are insured by the program.
- Florida public schools are still allowed to paddle children as a disciplinary measure. In the year 2010 alone some 3,661 students students were paddled as punishment in Florida, although the number is declining.
- Last year, the GOP-controlled state legislature rejected $52 million in federal funds to combat child abuse and neglect because the funds were made available under the Affordable Care Act.
- Also last year, the Florida legislature passed SB 2112, allowing “sheriffs to house young people in adult jails without the protections developed over the years for children in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.”
- Until a 2010 Supreme Court ruling ended the practice, Florida allowed persons convicted as minors for offenses other than murder to be locked up for life without parole. Of the 129 juvenile offenders who were given such sentences, 77 were in Florida while the rest were in only 10 other states.