Children’s Alliance works to improve the lives of children by making positive changes in public policy. Our trainings teach essential skills you can use to be effective in advocacy.
Has this ever happened to you?
You check Facebook. There is a video of a candidate saying something you found ridiculous. After watching the video, you frantically call the cat into the room and start ranting.
Now everybody knows about your outrage – except for the candidate who caused it.
Early learning advocates recognize lawmakers in Shelton and Anacortes for prioritizing early learning, and one Monroe resident says Head Start is key in building a strong foundation for success. In other state news, The Seattle Times endorses Initiative 502 to boost marijuana regulation and state revenue, one legislator says Initiative 1185 threatens a balanced approach to the state budget, and education advocates challenge the legislature’s supermajority vote on taxes in Supreme Court. As health care reform advances in Washington, candidates for Governor weigh in on whether extending health coverage helps or hurts our state.
One education advocate asserts that school districts can do more for academic success by strengthening early learning. The Children’s Alliance endorses Initiative 502 to lessen the inequitable impact of marijuana enforcement policy on families, the Seattle Times asks voters to approve Referendum 74 in support of family values and The News Tribune calls Initiative 1185 “inherently democratic.” In other news, a nurse says extending Medicaid to more Washingtonians will save state dollars. And in national news, one advocate speaks up for families that would be hit hard by deep cuts to food stamps proposed in the House Farm Bill.
Last year, Washington’s rate of hunger hit an all-time high since the federal government began keeping records 16 years ago, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From 2007 to December 2011, 75,000 more Washington households have found themselves unable to provide enough food for their kids. One in four of our state’s 1.5 million children are coping with hunger. That’s a lot of empty refrigerators, meal-stretching and meal-skipping, and nights spent worrying about where the next meal comes from.
This week, Children’s Alliance takes a stand for kids and racial equity by endorsing state ballot measure Initiative 502. In other state news, a new report shows that child hunger has spiked faster than surrounding states as deep food stamp cuts are considered at the federal level, and the Governor is recognized for her achievements in early learning during her eight-year term. Last week, early learning advocates awarded Rep. Bruce Dammeier and Sens. Mike Carrell and Debbie Regala Crayon Awards for their outstanding work on early learning in Washington. And finally, one elder advocate says Washington needs a new licensed dental practitioner to extend quality dental care to underserved seniors and families.
Pam Oliver of Everett has been a daily advocate for her five-year-old son, Steve Jr., since he was born prematurely at 25 weeks weighing just over 3 pounds.
“Having a medically fragile son, I had a lot to say, but wasn’t sure how to say it and whom to say it to,” remembers Pam.
She got some concrete answers when she attended Advocacy Camp last year, where she took an interactive workshop on state government. This gave her an in-depth look at the legislative process and opportunities to ask detailed questions. Before this, says Pam, “I did not know that the average person could have a say in legislative issues.”
Kylee Allen of Oak Harbor knows how effective advocacy can create better opportunities for kids. Her eldest daughter Delaney, now 10, is a living testament to how Head Start can set a strong foundation for success in K-12.
"Delaney, who had a severe speech delay, found the confidence she needed to speak up for herself,” says Kylee. “All my children are ‘A’ students and avid readers. These are skills that we learned together while at Head Start.”
Kylee attended Advocacy Camp in 2010, where she had the opportunity to build her skills and strengthen her connections to better speak up for all kids in Washington state. She learned how to get her voice heard in the media, share her values effectively with others, and better navigate the Washington State Legislature, she says.
A Thurston County business leader expands on the future economic benefits of early learning investments, and a new state budget analysis finds that extending the two-thirds majority vote in the State Legislature would harm kids while hindering economic recovery. While high school graduation rates in the state have improved overall, students of color experience disproportionately higher dropout rates. This fall, federal nutrition guidelines will fortify school meals in King County. And a distinguished community leader and former school board member of Seattle schools comes out for kids as marriage equality in Washington hinges on the vote to approve Referendum 74.
Members of Congress are home for the summer, meeting with constituents, learning more about issues in their districts and preparing for the November election. They get back to D.C. in early September, just a few days after Washington’s school kids head to the classroom.
Then, Congress will resume the debate about our national priorities – a debate that very directly concerns every Washington child who’s entering a classroom for the first time.
The first five years of life have a deep and durable influence on the rest – they’re the time when the fundamental architecture of the mind is built. Our public resources for the very young– from Early Head Start to Head Start to child care funds – affect children’s ability to spend their early years in enriching environments that serve them well in school and in life.
A wealth of data shows that these programs close the opportunity gap. Parents have seen that they work. Many lawmakers know that without them, we’ll neither lower spending nor create broadly shared prosperity. And yet they’re under threat.
The race is on for the future of Washington’s kids.
This month’s primary election has carved out the top two candidates for public office in districts across the state. Those who win will make policy decisions that affect your life, the life of a child you care about, and the lives of 1.5 million kids in Washington.
Now’s the time to tell candidates what’s at stake for kids. The Children’s Alliance has sent educational materials to every legislative candidate in the state to inform them about child hunger, covering all kids, improving access to dental care and early learning. Now we need your help.