Friday night’s takeover of the state Senate gives pundits much to ponder. Who gained at whose expense? What happens now?
But while the dust settles on a potentially deadlocked legislature, one fact is clear. The children of Washington got trampled when a group of Senators conspired to ram through the entire state education, health care, and social services budget without even a nod to public input. Kids are the new roadkill.
How quickly things change. Last year, members of the Senate’s “Roadkill Caucus” stood up for kids and successfully blocked cuts such as taking away Apple Health for Kids health coverage from 27,000 children. In fact, most members of that caucus voted against brutal cuts to kids in the budget that prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
Next week, schools across the country will be celebrating school breakfast week with new menu items, fun promotions and, most importantly, great nutrition.
Here in Washington several school districts are taking the Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge and have pushed their school breakfast promotions a few steps further.
Important legislation to help meet the oral health needs of kids and families took a major step forward this year in Washington.
Senate Bill 6126, legislation to improve dental access in our state, passed out of the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee with the support of committee Chair Sen. Karen Keiser, and lead sponsor, Sen. David Frockt, and early backing from Rep. Eileen Cody. The bill made marked strides, but did not pass the Rules Committee by the February 14th cut-off this legislative session.
The remarkable progress of this issue is the product of a diverse and growing campaign. The Washington Dental Access Campaign will continue the momentum to create a mid-level provider as a way to modernize our state’s oral health workforce and improve access to routine dental care.
Last Monday, Washington anti-hunger advocates sat down with a key Obama administration official and informed him that children and families across our state continue to feel the impact of the recession.
The federal Affordable Care Act was signed into law nearly two years ago. Since then, we at the Children’s Alliance, alongside health advocates across the state, have been working to make health care reform a reality in Washington.
In the next few weeks, health care leaders in the state House and Senate will take a crucial next step: They’ll set up ground rules for the state’s new Health Insurance Exchange.
Last week’s national poll results on food stamps should make Washington legislators take notice.
The poll found overwhelming support from voters for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, known universally as food stamps.
Along with tens of thousands of Washington children benefitting from SNAP, more than 12,000 children in our state depend on a form of food stamps called State Food Assistance – one of the vital programs lawmakers may cut.
The poll, conducted in the second week of January, is a strong indication that cutting SFA would be enormously unpopular:
The State Supreme Court earlier this month based a key decision on our state’s constitutional responsibility to provide a basic education to every child residing in Washington. During this legislative session, lawmakers can pass one bill that’s key to upholding that responsibility.
The High Quality Early Learning Act would establish universally accessible early learning programs for Washington 3- and 4-year-olds, while also strengthening programs that ensure the healthy development of infants and toddlers.
Eight-year-old Ashley had a toothache – a common problem for a kid her age.
Calling numerous dental offices in the three-county area surrounding their home, Ashley’s mother April couldn’t get her an appointment. Most didn’t take her form of insurance, Apple Health for Kids.
Meanwhile, Ashley’s cavity turned into an abscessed tooth. The resulting pain and earaches were keeping her up at night.
In this edition, Washington begins 2012 with millions in national recognition for Apple Health for Kids just after winning a competition from the Obama Administration to advance and extend quality early learning throughout our state. In other news, routine dental health care is out of reach and unaffordable for too many, so some states are looking to add a new provider to the dental workforce.
A new year for Washington begins with a new milestone for kids. The last two weeks of 2011 brought our state tens of millions of federal dollars, positioning Washington as a national leader in both children’s health and early learning.
In fact, our state was just one of four in the country to win national competitions for health and early learning, along with Ohio, Maryland and North Carolina.