This past legislative session, Washingtonians spoke up for better access to dental health care for children and families. While the Dental Access Bill was blocked by narrow special interests, advocacy and progress are marching forward outside the legislature.
Passage of the Early Start Act is great news for parents, children, and all Washingtonians who share in the vision of every child succeeding in school and in life.
We applaud the legislative leaders for early learning in all four caucuses—Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) and Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane)—and the many legislators who supported the Early Start Act. They have acted on the years of research showing that high quality early learning builds stronger families, better schools, more self-reliant adults and safer communities. Early learning is a necessary part of any strategy to close the opportunity gap facing too many of Washington’s children in low-income families and children of color.
Click here for photos of advocates and kids celebrating as Gov. Jay Inslee signs the Act.
Children's Alliance deputy director Jon Gould with early learning leaders Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla, left) and Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle, right) after the passage of the Early Start Act in the House of Representatives on Sunday, June 28.
Combined with a historic $158 million investment in early learning in the 2015-17 budget, passage of the Early Start Act marks a new level of commitment to early learning in Washington.
It’s the place where her father, Gregorio, a migrant farmworker, bought a house in 1942. There her father grew food and sold it in Seattle’s International District. And he led the family by example. She remembers him saying to her, one time, “I may be poor, but I am rich in value.”
Late last week, the regular legislative session ended, and Governor Jay Inslee called legislators back to work, starting this Wednesday, to accomplish the critical task of writing the next two-year operating budget.
State legislators and engaged Washingtonians have made tremendous progress over the past four months in building the kind of future Washington’s kids deserve. Both chambers of the Legislature passed their respective versions of the Early Start Act, which makes historic investments in the first five years of life.
From the Children's Alliance news page:
Advocates for children and families in Washington applauded the U.S. Senate for passing a bill yesterday that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years.
The vote follows passage of identical legislation in the House. It demonstrates that members of Congress overwhelmingly support the CHIP program and understand it is vital to keeping kids across the country healthy.
“This vote demonstrates the overwhelming popularity of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for getting kids the health coverage they need to succeed,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance.