No Kidding! The Children's Alliance blog
Last Friday, more than 1.1 million of our fellow Washingtonians saw their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expired.
The evidence continues to grow showing that the educational opportunity gap begins early – as young as 18 months.
Fortunately, parents, early childhood educators, and public officials know how to close that gap. That’s why they’re calling for increased investments in preschool, quality child care, voluntary home visiting and other programs that support the healthy development of young children.
NOTE to OUR READERS: Last week, federal lawmakers reached an agreement that not only reopened the government – but granted Congress time to undo the harm of the sequester and then make the budget decisions that put our nation’s kids and families on a solid footing. Washington’s own Sen. Patty Murray will co-chair a House-Senate conference committee looking at long-term budget solutions – including, potentially, a state-federal early-learning initiative that could help bridge the educational opportunity gap. We at Children’s Alliance are looking forward to a productive conversation about this national initiative – a conversation similar to that happening within the State of Washington and the City of Seattle.
The Washington HealthPlanFinder will open for business on Tuesday, October 1st. This is a big opportunity for families to get the coverage they need to thrive.
The HealthPlanFinder’s web site and call center are intended to help adults find, compare and enroll in the health plan that best suits them. Why should that matter to children? Because when parents go shopping for a plan for themselves, they’re more likely to find one that works for their kids, too.
That’s why, since the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress in 2010, we at the Children’s Alliance have worked hard to make health care reform work for kids in Washington. We’ve done that by:
- Bringing the advocacy and experience of members of the Health Coalition for Children and Youth to the table with public officials so kids don’t get lost in the shuffle;
It’s not just sound science to give kids under age 5 the chance to build a foundation for future learning. It’s also good politics.
A bipartisan research team recently found overwhelming support for ensuring that children gain the knowledge and skills necessary to start kindergarten off on the right foot.
Researchers polled 800 voters across the United States, outlining the broad contours of a federal proposal to help states and local communities expand early learning programs for children ages birth to 5. Voters’ responses revealed two encouraging facts:
Our 2013 Legislative Report describes the Children's Alliance's work for kids in partnership with coalitions and individuals from all across Washington state.
Together, our teamwork over the 2013 session won:
- Equitable health care: we strengthened Apple Health for Kids so that it now offers affordable coverage to all children;
- Quality pre-K: we expanded the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program so it meets the early learning needs of more children;
- Food for kids: we won a partial restoration of food stamp benefits for thousands of children and immigrant families.
Congress is considering deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), our nation’s number-one defense against hunger. Policymakers representing Washington’s 1 million SNAP recipients, 39 percent of whom are children, should consider these four facts as they ponder a vote:
We congratulate our state’s legislators for making progress on oral health in the 2013-15 biennial budget. State lawmakers passed a budget that restored full dental benefits to adults on Medicaid.
Reversing that harmful cut means dental coverage for 700,000 adults. That’s a good step forward. But our oral health crisis is far too big to solve in one step.
That’s why we’re taking action, this summer, to call attention to a proven solution to get more kids and families the dental care they need.
Washington’s children have lost a fierce champion and we have lost a beloved friend. We are heartbroken.
As we mourn the sudden loss of Kip Tokuda and share our condolences, we reflect upon the many contributions that he made to children and families in Washington.
Kip was the consummate child advocate. His legacy will live on through the many ways his work and service touch the lives of Washington’s children.
There’s promising news for children ages birth to 5, and therefore for our shared future. New state-by-state data shows that the President’s Preschool for All proposal would benefit 7,451 Washington children from low- and moderate-income families in the first year alone.
Quality pre-K helps kids build success in K-12 and saves money down the line. Brains are like buildings: they start with a foundation. Birth to age 5 is a crucial time to give kids the kinds of enriching environments that help them make smart choices, express their feelings, control their impulses and learn the other behaviors that put them on a solid footing for the rest of their lives.