Champions for Children are state lawmakers recognized by the Children’s Alliance for their outstanding service on behalf of children. Each Champion for Children provided significant leadership during the 2009 state legislative session in preserving, protecting, or advancing state policies or investments that will improve the well‐being of vulnerable children in Washington.
The Children's Alliance perspective regarding Governor Gregoire's veto of the early learning in the Basic Education Reform veto was visible in multiple stories.
May 19, 2009—Governor Chris Gregoire today vetoed the section of the Basic Education Bill (House Bill 2261) that stated the intent to provide preschool for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds as part of the state’s definition of basic education. As part of basic education preschool for this group would eventually have been funded on a per pupil basis in the same way K-12 education is funded.
At its annual luncheon, the Children’s Alliance will present five awards honoring child advocates whose work has improved the lives of Washington children. These diverse activists have spoken up for children, youth and families—they have demanded healthcare for all Washington children, pressed for the rights of birth parents within the child welfare system, secured funding for early learning programs for the children most at risk of being left behind.
It’s hard to start a blog post on anything regarding the state budget without saying, “It could have been worse.” We all got our expectations lowered enough that a “win” was any cut that wasn’t as bad as expected. With budget news going from bad to worse, our early learning priorities shifted to protecting what we had. On that front we won some and we lost some. Here’s how it broke out by session’s end.
We've announced our nominees for the 2009 Voices for Children Awards. Each year at our Voices for Children Awards Luncheon, the Children’s Alliance honors individuals and institutions that are making policy work for Washington State Children. This year’s awards luncheon will be held on June 4 at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion.
Each of the nominees is an outstanding advocate for kids. Award winners will be announced at the Voices for Children Awards Luncheon.
In crafting the state’s 2009-11 budget legislators made an effort to protect children from the worst of the budget cuts. But children live in families and communities that are facing harsh cuts in health care and other services.
Today the Senate made early learning programs for disadvantaged kids part of the definition of basic education.
What does that mean? Well, for starters, it means the state's program for low-income preschoolers, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), will eventually be funded on a per pupil basis--just like K-12.
Right now, there are more than 2,600 qualified kids on the waiting list for the program. When the law is fully implemented, they should all have ECEAP seats if they want them.
As the Seattle Times reported today, Washington reached a sad milestone in March: Our unemployment rate broke 9 percent. That has distressing implications for kids. As we reported last month, the new State of Washington’s Children report projected that when Washington’s unemployment rate reached 9 percent, at least 37,000 children would fall into poverty.
Washington voters have spoken, and more than 70 percent of you support providing a preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds living in poverty.