Parents, advocates and community leaders during this 2016 legislative session have advocated for greater investments in access to early learning for kids ages birth to 5 and their families. We’ve done it before: last year, the Early Start Act came with the largest investment in early learning in our state’s history. This historic achievement is improving early childhood education for more than 70,000 Washington children.
But the legislature is poised to undermine this progress.
Governor Inslee’s Executive Order re: State Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families
Statement from Children’s Alliance, Feb. 18, 2016
Any structural change in the state of Washington’s service delivery for children should be guided by what’s best for kids. And, when not all kids are faring well, our attention and resources should prioritize the most vulnerable. Data about child outcomes in our state show wide disparities in economic security, educational, and health outcomes by family income and race and ethnicity.
The Dental Access Bill, Senate Bill 5465, had a public hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee on Monday, January 25, with members of the Washington Dental Access Campaign (WDAC)—representing the interests of children, elders, rural constituents, dental professionals and advocates for low-income people and communities of color—signing in PRO. Here are a few highlights from the testimony:
Dr. Kevin Nakagaki, DDS, has worked with dental therapists since they were first licensed to practice in Minnesota in 2011.
“Patients are very accepting of the Dental Therapist, as they are very familiar with the medical model of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
“In my clinic, after hiring dental therapists, access for my population has increased, and the wait time to be seen has decreased by half. As I have shifted the straightforward dental restorations to the dental therapist, it has freed up my time to concentrate on more complex procedures.
“The dental therapists are very well trained to manage the pediatric population, and the patients (and parents) have been very satisfied-extremely satisfied with their care.
“As the dentists have had the opportunity to work with the therapists, they have found the concept safe, workable, desirable, and have begun requesting new hires for their offices.”
—Dr. Kevin Nakagaki, DDS, Minneapolis
Lawmakers took a big step forward for kids last year with the passage and funding of the Early Start Act. This year, we can’t afford to let them take a big step backward.
Legislators are opening the first week of the 2016 session with a close look at Governor Inslee’s proposed supplemental budget. Here’s one item that kids, working parents and employers need them to pay attention to.