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Low sales threaten Kids Deserve Justice specialty license tag

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The Foundation uses funds from the plates to give grants to legal aid programs that protect abused and neglected children, children in foster care, and children who need special education testing and services, or access to health care

PlateThe Kids Deserve Justice specialty license plate created by The Florida Bar Foundation to fund legal services to low-income children may be discontinued by July 2023 if plate sales do not increase.

Connie Bookman

Connie Bookman

“On average, the plate provides around $36,000 annually that is used to fund Children’s Legal Services grants to legal aid providers throughout the state,” Connie Bookman, the Foundation’s president, said. “Given the downturn in the economy and the continued low interest rates that affect the Foundation’s funding, every dollar counts. The KDJ plate program provides substantial funding for work that improves children’s lives.”

Currently, about 1,380 Florida residents have Kids Deserve Justice plates, but that will not be enough to keep the plate in circulation. Last year, a new Florida law went into effect that discontinues plates with low sales. The Kids Deserve Justice plate is hovering near the bottom 10% of specialty license plate sales. At least 1,620 plates would have to be purchased in addition to those already in circulation to meet the state’s requirement of 3,000 registrations for 12 consecutive months.

The plate was created in 2004 under the leadership of then Florida Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson with the goal of providing more funding for children’s legal services. Since then, it has raised more than $647,000.

Every Kids Deserve Justice specialty plate generates $25 in charitable contributions. The Foundation uses funds from the plates to give grants to legal aid programs that protect abused and neglected children, children in foster care, and children who need special education testing and services, or access to health care.

“We provide a full range of civil legal assistance in issues ranging from medical access, proper placement, adequate education, benefits and access to financial resources, guardianship, emancipation, housing, immigration, and probate, among others,” said Legal Services of North Florida in their most recent grant application. “We practice in multiple forums, including circuit and appellate court and administrative proceedings. During the past year, we represented youth in 221 cases. With continued funding, this critical advocacy will continue.”

Visit TheFloridaBarFoundation.org/kids to learn how to purchase a plate.

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