Whole Child Leon: Building Community Support for our Youngest Children

Problem

We know that 90% of brain development takes place before the age of 5, yet community support for families with young children is sporadic and fragmented. Although Leon County houses the Capitol of Florida, 2 major research universities and a community college, more than 25% of Leon County children live in poverty and a corresponding 25% enter Kindergarten without the language or basic skills to succeed. Leon County rates for infant mortality, premature births and low birth weight in Leon County are higher than in the state as a whole.

Solution

Whole Child Leon (WCL) is a community-wide initiative designed to address critical issues affecting our children by bringing together public, private and nonprofit partners, business leaders, elected officials, educators, health care providers, parents and caregivers to work together towards systemic change. WCL empowers these partners with data to better understand children's needs and equip the entire community to measure progress, provide recommendations and to inform progress moving forward. Key initiatives include the PACT Early Childhood System of Care, a monthly Whole Child Leon Professional Network, an annual Maternal Child Health Community Conference, an ongoing Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup, bi-annual Early Childhood Developmental Screenings, ongoing Childhood Obesity Prevention Education and neighborhood equity work.


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