Helping children in Florida thrive with Whole Child Leon

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Florida participated in Children’s Week Florida™, March 26-31, at the Florida State Capitol. The annual event, hosted by Children’s Forum, brings together decision-makers, community partners and providers from throughout the state who are committed to creating a better future for children of Florida. The America’s Health Rankings “2022 Health of Women and Children Report” ranks Florida 29 out of 50 states when looking at the overall health of children.1

In conjunction with the event, and as part of our commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of children, Community Plan of Florida announced a $100,000 grant to Whole Child Leon. The funding will help the nonprofit organization — which is dedicated to ensuring that children in Leon County, Florida, thrive — expand its technology and tools, health care provider trainings and resources for behavioral care providers. Whole Child Leon works in partnership with more than 65 local programs and organizations.

Connecting families to resources and care

The percentage of children living below the federal poverty line in Leon County, which means earning less than $26,500 per year for a family of four, is 12%.2 In 2020, the food insecurity rate in the county was 12% overall and 17.3% for children.3

The consequences of childhood poverty can include unstable family structures and functioning; adverse childhood experiences and traumatic events; reduced health care access; higher infant mortality; lack of school readiness; lower graduation rates; higher arrest and incarceration rates; high-risk sexual behaviors; adolescent pregnancy; depression; suicide; developmental delays; smoking; drug abuse; eating disorders; obesity; and several chronic diseases.4

To counter this, Whole Child Leon helps families in the county evaluate the needs of their young children and connects them to service providers. It also brings together public, private and nonprofit groups to identify community issues, gaps in services, and barriers to care that have a negative impact on the county’s children.

Once a challenge is identified, Whole Child Leon serves as a catalyst, bringing together community partners to find solutions. The organization focuses on providing continuity of care around ten key issues:  childhood poverty, healthy birth, food insecurity, foster care, K-level readiness, child health and safety, behavioral health, nature deficit, adverse childhood experiences and juvenile crime. While its primary focus is on children from birth to age 5, its philosophy addresses the needs of children of all ages and their families.   

Supporting children’s whole-person health

The work of Whole Child Leon aligns with Community Plan of Florida’s commitment to providing whole-person health care and to address social determinants of health. We’re honored to support its innovative, holistic strategies to address key systemic issues and to help it expand its services to better serve the children of Leon County.

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