January, 2011

Advocacy works to save child care assistance


Over the past three weeks, parents, early childhood teachers and their allies have achieved something remarkable.

By coming to Olympia to speak with state representatives, sharing their stories and those of struggling families they know, they told the state legislature what would happen if the state ended child care assistance for working families on Feb. 1 (today).

They were heard.

Putting foster kids on the path to self-sufficiency


All kids deserve to enter adulthood with the tools they need to succeed. One bill in the current legislative session puts those tools in more kids’ hands.

Each year, about 400 Washington children leave the state’s foster care system when they turn 18 without having been reunited with their biological families or adopted.

H.B. 1128 (and its companion in the Senate, S.B. 5245) allows these kids to extend their time in foster care for one year – one year for them to stay in their current housing situation while they gain the skills they need as adults.

Dental therapist bill will improve oral health


An oral health improvement bill that the Children’s Alliance helped to shape — House Bill 1310 — is one we’ll be working hard to support.

In response to our state’s oral health care crisis, the bill sets up standards for the education, licensing and practice of dental therapists — a new category of oral health professional who will serve Washingtonians of all ages in places dentists don’t.

Media Digest 01-22-2011


In this edition, House budget writers protect Apple Health for Kids as an essential for children during a tough legislative session, and Washington Budget & Policy Center releases a cogent analysis about how Working Connections Child Care cuts will have a tremendous negative impact on basic family income stability and Washington’s labor force. In other news, a Huffington Post guest column points to children as the answer to our economic conundrum, First Focus releases a national report that shows investment in children’s health programs improved coverage for kids overall, and a Centers for Disease Control report suggests more research and attention should go to racial disparities, which largely determine health outcomes in the U.S.

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House budget writers give Apple Health a booster shot


Apple Health for Kids received a welcome booster shot this week when House budget writers rejected the proposed elimination of coverage for 27,000 children.

And, leaders in the House mentioned children’s health as a priority on par with funding for basic education. We agree. The state constitution entitles all kids to a basic education. In order to learn, kids need to be healthy -- and not hungry or held back by poverty.

Central Wash. grandmother speaks up for struggling families


Children’s Alliance members took action for kids to honor and implement the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17. 

Senate TestimonyDeanna Potter (left), her husband
Gaelyn and brother-in-law Dennis got up before dawn and drove nearly
four hours from Sunnyside in Central Washington to the Capitol in
Olympia. They came to speak up and urge lawmakers to stand strong for
kids in tough times.

State Food Assistance fills a gap for state's hungry families


With one million Washington residents currently receiving Basic Food (food stamps), it’s clear that hard times are not yet over in our state.

There’s good news in that statistic, however, because Basic Food is a federal entitlement program that grows when times are tough and shrinks when folks go back to work.

For 15,000 Washington children who live in families that receive State Food Assistance, however, the good news will end Feb. 1 unless the legislature acts to reject Governor Gregoire’s proposed elimination of the program.

Media Digest 01-15-2011

In this edition, Tacoma News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan asks Gov. Gregoire and state lawmakers to re-evaluate what we really know about Washington voters. Meanwhile, tough times in King County prevail with a 50 percent reduction in Maternity Support Services, and advocates on the national level explain what health care reform means for kids.

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Cutting Working Connections pushes parents from work to welfare


There’s only two weeks standing between now and a potential budget cut that could pull the rug out from underneath working families across our state.

State legislators are working quickly to pass a Supplemental budget in order to cut costs in this fiscal year, ending in June. While their pens are poised, they need to feel a groundswell of people pushing back against devastating cuts to Working Connections Child Care.

Working Connections currently helps working parents stay at work, moving to self-sufficiency, even when their wages are too low to pay the full cost of child care.

Media Digest 01-11-2011

In this edition, Children’s Alliance Deputy Director Jon Gould speaks up on KUOW for the 14,000 Washington families at risk of losing their food stamps. Also, Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s Remy Trupin makes a case for closing tax breaks for revenue, State Rep. Andy Billig D – Spokane, states that Apple Health for Kids is his absolute priority, and Gov. Chris Gregoire calls for consolidating all education boards, commissions and agencies into a single state education department led by one appointed secretary.

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Media Digest 01-05-2011


In this edition, the Tacoma News Tribune quotes Sen. Karen Keiser on covering all children in Washington state just as a $17.6 million federal performance bonus rolls in for Apple Health for Kids’ outstanding enrollment. In other news, charity organizations and food banks say they cannot bear the brunt of increased demand from proposed state cuts, and KING 5 News links investment in early learning to bridging the achievement gap in the K-12 system.