Florida’s Young Parents and their Children
183,000 children in Florida have young parents ages 18 to 24. These young parents need to be able to complete their education and increase their employment skills to ensure they can support their families and promote their children’s healthy development.
According to Opening Doors for Young Parents, the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Florida is home to 148,000 young adult parents who face hurdles to support their children and fulfill their own potential.
The fifty-state report reveals that, at 9 percent, Florida is below the national average (10 percent) of youth ages 18 to 24 who are also young parents. The report highlights the following statewide trends and areas of concern:
• 78 percent of children of young parents in Florida live in low-income families, one of the highest percentages in the country.
• Only 16 percent of young parents ages 18 to 24 have completed an associate degree or higher.
• 64 percent of Florida’s young parents are people of color, facing challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities, with their children standing to suffer the most.
While we are very aware that young parents often find themselves in more difficult positions to provide their children with the supports needed to successfully grow physically, socially and emotionally, there are things we can do to support these young adult parents by enhancing their education and employment opportunities.
• We can help individual parents with parenting skills through programs using home visitation models, such as Healthy Families and the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters Program.
• At the state level, we can ensure adequate funding for quality early childhood programs that enable young parents to pursue their education and gain more employment skill.
• At the federal level, we can ask our representatives to expand the eligible population for the Earned Income Tax Credit to include younger working people who can use those funds to support their families.
The Casey Foundation’s report offers key national and state data on young parents and their children and provides recommendations for action policymakers, states and communities can take to help young parents and their children thrive.