No Kidding! Blog

Poverty blocks progress, though Washington’s kids gain overall

 

Household incomes for Washington’s poorest families have yet to recover from the 2008 recession, according to the national 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation.

 

Washington is ranked 15th among the 50 states (PDF) in the Data Book this year; that’s four places higher than last year, when it was ranked 19th.

 

Since 2008, the number of children growing up without health coverage has improved by 38 percent. That’s good news, as coverage is all but essential for kids to see a health professional or get medicine when they’re sick. Credit is due to the state’s Cover All Kids law, which passed in 2007 and created affordable health coverage called Apple Health for Kids. The Affordable Care Act’s 2014 creation of a flexible market for individual plans has also propelled child coverage in Washington to one of the nation’s highest.

 

Yet the child poverty rate is nearly 30 percent higher than it was in 2008, with an additional 59,000 children growing up below the federal poverty level.

McCleary sanctions should advance, not restrict, educational opportunity

 

The state Supreme Court must not order action that would endanger children’s constitutional rights to educational opportunity.

 

So says an Amici Curiae brief filed by four organizations working together to advocate for kids in the context of the McCleary decision. The organizations are Columbia Legal Services, the Equity in Education Coalition, the Children’s Alliance and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

 

Almost half of all Washington children—4 in 10—live in a family with inadequate income. And a rising share of the state’s student body are children of color, who tend to face implicit, institutional and structural racial bias that forms imposing barriers to their success. These factors—whether they take the form of financial insecurity, homelessness, foster care placement, poorer access to health care or household hunger—make a child’s educational opportunity fragile. 

Love overflowing for Washington’s kids

 

Bremerton mother Natasha Fecteau has been learning how to make a difference for kids for several years. This year, she put her learning to work to a far greater extent than before.

Natasha believes child care ought to be within financial reach of parents who are struggling to earn a living. That’s why, when the Children’s Alliance issued a call this year for budget action to protect early learning and stable care for kids, she spoke up for Working Connections Child Care.

She believes timely, preventive oral health care ought to be available for kids and their families. So when Children’s Alliance pushed this year for the creation and authorization of dental therapists, she spoke up about her own arduous experience trying to find a dental professional she could afford.

New report: For 1 in 14 Washington kids, incarceration worsens the generational pull of poverty

 

One out of every 14 children in Washington state has at least one parent who is or has been incarcerated. These 109,000 kids’ counterparts nationwide total 5.1 million—a conservative estimate, according to a new KIDS COUNT report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

The number of children affected by incarceration in Washington is 6.5 times greater than the number of inmates in the state’s 12 correctional centers. The needs of these children, as they face increased risks and significant obstacles in life, are often overlooked. Research shows that having a parent imprisoned can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence.

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According to the report, the number of children with a father in prison nearly doubled between 1991 and 2007, and those with a mother behind bars more than doubled. Compared with their White peers, Black and Latino kids are seven and three times more likely, respectively, to have a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives.

A Mother’s Day gift for Washington’s kids

 

This Mother’s Day, let’s give moms and other caregivers an important gift: access to high quality, affordable child care. While high quality child care is a critical component of supporting working parents and giving children a strong start in life, the cost of care is a barrier for many families.

Washington was ranked the sixth least affordable state for center-based infant care and the 10th least affordable state for center-based care for a four-year-old. Put into perspective, a minimum-wage worker in Washington would have to work full time from January to August just to pay for child care for one infant.