No Kidding: Children's Alliance Blog

The budget cuts’ impact on kids

Child holding "Kids Not Cuts" sign, Olympia, Feb. 2010

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.

WA could win up to $1.3 million for home visiting

 

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.

An equal start to the school day

 

From left: Sandra Schafer, teacher in Highline School District, with Aki Kurose middle school students Elena Uncango and Ashley Clark and Aki Kurose staff member Rayonna Tobin. They traveled from Seattle to Olympia Wednesday to voice their support for House Bill 1295 / Senate Bill 5437.

One of the most treasured parts of our state Constitution is Article IX, section 1, the guarantee for Washington families of a basic education for their children.

As courts, governing officials, parents and policymakers now know, we have fallen short in this promise to kids. 

One of the ways that educational inequity shows up in the lives of children is when local tax levies help schools with higher-value property raise more money. America’s legacy of racial discrimination restricted children of color to poorer communities. Because of this, the schools that are financially under-resourced are tasked with educating the children most vulnerable to household hunger. This disparity is another feature of the opportunity gap between children of color and children in low-income families and kids growing up in more affluent school districts.

We can do something, this session, to close that gap by passing House Bill 1295 / Senate Bill 5437, ensuring that more children in high-poverty areas have the fuel to learn all day.

The Early Start Act: Why culturally relevant care matters

Opportunities for positive change don’t come along every day. But right now, we have the historic opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of children. Together, we can seize it.

The bipartisan Early Start Act, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow (R – Mercer Island) and Rep. Ruth Kagi (D – Seattle), would integrate the latest findings on how children learn into the everyday lives of Washington’s babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The bill would:

What's at Stake for Kids in Olympia in 2015

 

The New Year brings a new legislative session, with new challenges and new opportunities for Washington’s kids. 

In order to make sure kids are put at the center of government’s concern this year, it’s helpful to know who holds power, and how, in the State capitol.

Advocates at the Capitol Steps, January 2014.

The fall 2014 elections resulted in a state Senate majority of 25 Republicans and a minority of 24 Democrats. In the House, a 51-member Democratic majority holds power, while Republicans hold the remaining 47 seats.

Each elected representative works within the political party of his or her choice. Within the House and Senate, these parties meet as a unit. They are called caucuses. The caucus is a closed forum for discussing ideas and proposing action. One Senate Democrat, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch), chooses to meet in his Republican colleagues’ caucus.  This is the Majority Coalition Caucus.

Initiative 1351, concerning K-12 education


During election season, the Children’s Alliance analyzes statewide ballot measures. Whether we support, oppose, or don’t get involved is based on the answer to one fundamental question:  Is it good for kids and for racial equity?

Today, we announce our opposition to Initiative 1351 concerning K-12 education.

Southwest Wash. Senators Recognized for Early Learning Leadership

Ann Rivers & Annette Cleveland


Every one of our state’s children needs an equal opportunity for high-quality early learning. That’s why a growing number of state, local and federal policymakers are supporting the first five years of a child’s life: the foundation for lifelong success.

Among them are State Senators Ann Rivers (18th District, La Center, left) and Annette Cleveland (49th District, Vancouver, right).

Honoring State Representatives for work to expand access to high quality early learning

 

Children are born learning. Access to high quality early learning is critical to closing the gap for children who start out with fewer opportunities. An increasing number of lawmakers understand that early learning builds strong kids and strong communities.

Last week the Early Learning Action Alliance recognized State Representative David Sawyer (Spanaway, 29th District) for his commitment to the first five years of a child’s life.

Tremendous Progress toward Covering All Kids

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.

The Stop Child Summer Hunger Bill


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.