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
Every child in our state should have the opportunity to thrive: a quality education supported by parents and community from cradle to career; enough healthy food to eat each day; and access to comprehensive, affordable health care that optimizes their well-being.
In our weekly Learn, Love, Lead! email series, we show what we can do together to protect and support Washington's children from new federal threats. Each week, we provide a resource you can learn from and share, or an action you can take to be the leader kids are counting on.
Whether you and your family are targeted by rising hate or a particular policy, or you want to act in solidarity with children and families in your community, we are here to support your actions to protect kids’ well-being and happiness today, and help them grow into their enormous potential.
Opportunities for Racial Equity within the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)
I. Short-Term Opportunities: Now through November 2017
Research Brief: Early Learning Improves Kindergarten Readiness for All and Dramatically Reduces Disparities for Kids of Color
We all have a stake in making sure that, from the day they’re born, kids can have the enriching experiences they need to get off to a great start in life. Research has found quality early learning can give children the tools they need to thrive academically and emotionally throughout their young lives and beyond.
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.