This past session, the Children’s Alliance fought for policy solutions rooted in our commitment to improve the lives of Washington’s children and advance racial equity, so every child has the opportunity they deserve.
Policy Papers & Issue Briefs
Children’s Alliance Priorities in the Department of Children, Youth and Families Legislation (2SHB 1661)
Children’s Alliance is very pleased to see a number of our priorities reflected in the most recent version of the house bill (2SHB 1661) as it passed the House Appropriations Committee on February 24, 2017.
This brief outlines the provisions in the legislation addressing Children’s Alliance priorities.
We all have a stake in the basic services and supports that help Washington’s kids. We count on programs and services, quality schools, health care and other public goods that make Washington great. Our shared investments contribute to quality early learning, child nutrition, and other services and supports that let kids thrive.
The creation of a consolidated Department of Children, Youth and Families is an historic opportunity to improve outcomes for all children, especially those who face barriers to their healthy development and learning.
We support the proposal for a Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), with the following priorities:
Dental therapists can make dental care accessible.
Dental therapists work as part of the dental team to provide routine and preventive care.
Dental therapists can provide care to underserved kids and families in rural, low-income, and tribal communities and communities of color across Washington. They can also bring care to more kids and parents covered by Apple Health, and to those who are uninsured.
Children in Washington need dental therapists.
The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is quality preschool that’s good for kids, parents and schools.
Washington has some of the highest child-care (including preschool) costs in the nation. That means some kids, disproportionately kids in low-income families and children of color, miss out on early experiences in preschool that can help them have a great childhood and thrive in kindergarten. ECEAP expands equitable access to high-quality, culturally responsive preschool.
FACT: Dental therapists will work within a narrowly defined scope of practice to provide important and needed routine and preventive care to Washingtonians who currently can’t get it.
The proposal to consolidate programs and services into a Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) in Washington State is a once in a generation opportunity to structure government for positive outcomes for children, youth, and families.
While there are many important aspects of this endeavor, the Children’s Alliance has identified four key areas for the focus of our advocacy. We recognize there are many issues involved and we will also play a supportive role on other issues that are deeply felt by our community.
These are our four priorities:
More than 385,000 children insured by Apple Health for Kids are not receiving any kind of dental care, including emergency visits. Similarly, nearly 3 in 10 children with private dental coverage in Washington did not receive any dental care on a yearly basis in 2013. In contrast, the proportion of children who visited their primary care provider in 2015 was much higher, with 89-98 percent of children aged 1-19 receiving care.
The following positions on statewide ballot measures for the 2016 general election have been taken by the Children’s Alliance.
Initiative 732: NO
While designed to fight climate change, Initiative 732 threatens children in two ways. First, its tax breaks are insufficient to counter its full costs to low-income families, who are disproportionately families of color. Second, it’s predicted to worsen the state’s budget shortfall—jeopardizing programs and services kids need to thrive.
Better wages and access to paid sick leave stabilize families and help kids grow up healthy and strong. One in five children in our state live in poverty and face long-term barriers to success in school and in life. Family-friendly workplace policies move us closer to ending childhood hunger and poverty. When crafted well, such policies are also a step toward racial equity, as people of color disproportionately hold low-wage jobs without paid leave benefits.
Answers to five commonly asked questions about dental therapists—with a summary of findings on the work of dental therapists in Minnesota. Read the full paper.
For too long, oral health has gone unrecognized as integral to overall health. Too many Washingtonians do not have access to routine and preventive oral health care. Read more.
The bipartisan, historic Early Start Act (H.B. 1491) enacts unprecedented policies and resources to help ensure all children a great start.
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Provides parents with information about the quality of early learning so that they can make informed choices for their children.
Supports continuity of care so that children receive the consistent care essential for
bonding and attachment and parents can count on stable care.
In 2015, Washington’s legislature passed and Governor Inslee signed the Early Start Act (HB 1491). The bipartisan, historic Early Start Act enacts unprecedented policies and resources to help ensure all children get the great start they need. The Early Start Act includes numerous provisions designed at increasing access to quality care for all children, particularly children in low-income families and children of color.
For Washington to thrive, all of our children must thrive. That's why Children's Alliance partners with parents and other community leaders to push for public investments in key areas of child well-being.
This year, by opening the doors of power in Olympia to parents and advocates from across the state, we achieved two historic victories.
All children deserve a great start in life. But our state’s tax system puts too many of them in harm’s way.
Revenues as a proportion of the economy have shrunk over the past 15 years, resulting in cuts to basic services. Children in communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by these cuts.
Ending these cuts boosts our economy. Ending the 25 percent cut to State Food Assistance would generate more than $17 million in economic activity through June 2017.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) promotes the economic security of children. This session, state lawmakers should restore the 15 percent cut to TANF. Read more.
High quality early learning is a targeted investment that reaps huge returns: proven outcomes in school and in life. Every child deserves the opportunity for a great start. Pass the Early Start Act with culturally relevant care provisions and funding needed to close the opportunity gap.
The bipartisan Early Start Act (HB 1491/SB 5452)
Sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle) and Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), the Early Start Act aims to expand access to high quality early learning, particularly for children furthest from opportunity.