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It’s the worst we’ve seen.
That’s our assessment of new cuts to state services. The across-the-board budget reductions are more severe than anything we’ve experienced recently. They’re also being made in an extremely challenging context.
The budget that was finalized this spring, during the last legislative session, did not anticipate the persistently slow economy. And, rather than our elected representatives deliberating in public over cuts, these decisions are being made by the Governor in consultation with agency secretaries and assistant secretaries. They are decisions as momentous as any made during the last legislative session, only without legislators convening to hear and represent their constituents’ concerns.
The federal government has finally released the guidelines states need to apply for their slice of $1.5 billion in new grant funding for home visiting programs, which connect new and expectant parents with trained nursing and early learning professionals.
The new guidelines issued late last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow Washington to apply for up to $1.3 million this year.
The first wave of these grants, part of federal health care reform that became law in March, will go to states this summer.
Over the next few weeks and months, we and our allies on the Washington Home Visiting Coalition will be working with state agencies and stakeholders on a plan for how Washington will use these home visiting funds.
All kids deserve a chance to thrive. Thanks to the smart implementation of the Affordable Care Act here in Washington, we’re putting health care within reach of more children—so they can be part of a healthy future for all.
Since the opening of our State’s new Health Insurance Marketplace, HealthPlanFinder, in October, more than 94,000 Washington children have been newly enrolled in Apple Health for Kids. An additional 5,000 children were connected with private insurance.
What does that mean? Thanks to Apple Health for Kids and the Affordable Care Act, Washington has made tremendous progress toward the goal of universal coverage.
What happens in the summertime to children who receive free or reduced-price school meals during the school year? Nationally, parents report that family food expenses increase by more than $300 per month when kids are not in school. For many low-income families, there simply isn’t enough stretch in the family budget to accommodate the increase. Summertime hunger contributes to summer learning loss; students who’ve experience hunger in the summer struggle to keep up in the fall.
Seattle mom Dara Craven knows about summertime hunger firsthand. Dara, a Children’s Alliance member and child advocate, has struggled to provide healthy food for her two children during the summer months. Through a combination of growing a kitchen garden, using food banks and stretching her resources, Dara has managed to support her children. But she knows things can be better—that’s why she supports Senator Patty Murray’s Stop Child Summer Hunger Act, which would provide added resources for families with children during the summer months.
When Jen’s youngest child, Caleb, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it not only changed Caleb’s life, but hers as well.
Coming out of the doctor’s office, she remembers, “You get nothing—you’re just diagnosed.” All she got was a head full of unanswered questions.
How would her two-year-old son live in the world? What kind of childhood would he have?
Eight school districts across Washington state have earned honors for serving more students the first meal of the day: breakfast.
We at the Children’s Alliance partnered with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and the Washington State Dairy Council to recognize the school districts with gold, silver and bronze awards and cash prizes of $500-$1,500.
The new Race for Results report offers quantitative evidence of the barriers that prevent all our children from grasping the building blocks of success.
Here in Washington and across the country, no single group of children covered by the report—African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, or white—is meeting key milestones of child well-being. But children of color, especially, face greater barriers to opportunity.
Children’s Alliance was pleased to join Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on a tour of St. Anne’s Children’s and Family Center in Spokane Thursday. St. Anne’s is an early adopter of Washington state's Quality Rating Improvement System, Early Achievers, which is raising the bar for child care centers and early-learning programs throughout our early childhood education system.
“Tribes are sovereign entities and there are cultural differences that have to be kept in mind whenever we do service provision, and it is best done by the tribe itself.”
—John Stephens, dental director of the Swinomish Indian Tribe
By exercising their rights to tribal self-determination, Native American communities have a crucial means of saving lives and protecting their members’ health. Legislators are aware of this. That’s why the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee held a work session Feb. 25 on the oral health needs and the use of Dental Health Aide Therapists (dental therapists) in Indian Country.
President Obama and Congress have both identified early learning as an important area of investment. The Washington State legislature should do the same and pass and fund the Early Start Act.
Our youngest kids deserve early learning opportunities that spark their curiosity, nurture their potential, and build their resilience. Consensus is growing: these opportunities lay a foundation for a strong future.
But far too many children don't get the early start they need. High quality early learning opportunities are often unaffordable or unavailable to the children who need them.