Washington state has taken smart steps to solve childhood hunger. When Congress eliminated food assistance for immigrant families, state lawmakers created the Food Assistance Program, which has helped connect tens of thousands of children with the food they need to thrive. Nearly 20 years after it was created, Washington lawmakers still support food assistance.
Last Friday, more than 1.1 million of our fellow Washingtonians saw their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expired.
The evidence continues to grow showing that the educational opportunity gap begins early – as young as 18 months.
Fortunately, parents, early childhood educators, and public officials know how to close that gap. That’s why they’re calling for increased investments in preschool, quality child care, voluntary home visiting and other programs that support the healthy development of young children.
NOTE to OUR READERS: Last week, federal lawmakers reached an agreement that not only reopened the government – but granted Congress time to undo the harm of the sequester and then make the budget decisions that put our nation’s kids and families on a solid footing. Washington’s own Sen. Patty Murray will co-chair a House-Senate conference committee looking at long-term budget solutions – including, potentially, a state-federal early-learning initiative that could help bridge the educational opportunity gap. We at Children’s Alliance are looking forward to a productive conversation about this national initiative – a conversation similar to that happening within the State of Washington and the City of Seattle.
The Washington HealthPlanFinder will open for business on Tuesday, October 1st. This is a big opportunity for families to get the coverage they need to thrive.
The HealthPlanFinder’s web site and call center are intended to help adults find, compare and enroll in the health plan that best suits them. Why should that matter to children? Because when parents go shopping for a plan for themselves, they’re more likely to find one that works for their kids, too.
That’s why, since the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress in 2010, we at the Children’s Alliance have worked hard to make health care reform work for kids in Washington. We’ve done that by: