Florida ranks 43/50 in number of homeless children

America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, a report by the National Center on Family Homelessness, offers a snapshot view of child homelessness in America and a summary of the unique needs of homeless children. In addition, the report serves as a call to action to end child homelessness.

How does the State Report Card define a homeless child?

It is simple: children from birth to 18 years of age are counted, as long as they are accompanied by at least one parent or caregiver. The numbers in this report are even more alarming when you consider all the additional unaccompanied homeless children who are not counted, such as runaways.

How does the State Report Card rank states?

The report considers several different factors that influence the number and well-being of homeless children in an area and ranks each state accordingly. The factors considered for each state were:

  1. Extent of child homelessness
  2. Child well-being
  3. Risk for child homelessness
  4. The state’s policy and planning efforts

Now that you have the background information you need, let’s get down to the dirty details that caused Florida to rank 43rd out of the 50 states (with 50 being the worst). . Below are some of the most disturbing statistics from Florida’s section in the State Report Card:

  • How old are Florida’s homeless children?
    • Under 6 years: 20,952 kids
    • Grades K-8 (enrolled): 23,404 kids (children not enrolled in school are not counted)
    • Grades 9-12 (enrolled): 5,530 kids
  • Total number of homeless children in Florida: 49,886
  • Children living in poverty: 6% of Florida’s children living at or below the poverty level are homeless.
  • Food security: 1 in 29 children in Florida do not know where they will get their next meal.
  • Homelessness and children’s health: Health problems are present in 15% of the state’s homeless children, versus only 5% of housed middle-income children.

  • Educational achievement: The high school graduation rate for homeless children is less than 25%. The difference in lifetime earnings for children who do not graduate vs. those who do is $200,000.

To learn more about Florida’s homeless children and the struggles they face, or to read about the policies Florida has for addressing child homelessness, check out the full report. We find the National Center on Family Homelessness’ goal of inspiring our nation to work toward an end to child homelessness powerful. Now, all that’s left to do is see if the call is effective – can you help make that happen? Visit our website to find ways you can help address homelessness in Central Florida!