State House and Senate leaders released their two-year budgets late last week. The budgets represent real progress for Washington’s kids and families.
The budgets make the largest investments in early learning in state history. Affordable child care, quality pre-K, home visiting and other strong birth-to-5 supports can help more families get the great start they need. These investments expand access to culturally and linguistically specific resources and center racial equity by addressing the shortage of affordable child care in Black and Latinx communities. These budgets recognize that early learning is essential for economic stability, and help hardworking families and Washington businesses get back to work.
Regarding our health policy priorities, the Senate budget advances the effort to expand access to equitable dental care by establishing the Dental Therapy Task Force. The task force will be charged with identifying strategies to bring the current success of dental therapists working in tribal communities in Washington to a statewide scale. Support this effort by contacting your legislators now to ensure the task force is included in the final budget.
Additionally, both the House and Senate budgets included critical investments in health equity by creating more culturally and linguistically appropriate services for people from COFA nations seeking health coverage or struggling to access health or dental care. These services are particularly important as income-eligible individuals from COFA communities transition to Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage.
Finally, the budget’s progressive revenue is vital to balance our tax code and support robust early learning and economic prosperity for generations to come.
As state lawmakers move into the final weeks of the legislative session, Washington’s kids need adults like us to speak up. If you’re not already a Children’s Alliance member, join us.