No Kidding! The Children's Alliance blog
Last Tuesday, six-year-old Zoe Osborne and her parents got a very special present in the mail: an Apple Health for Kids coupon. For Zoe and her parents, the legislature’s directive to finally start enrolling families whose coverage was suspended earlier this year isn’t abstract.
We and others have already reported that Washington state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) allotment from the federal government is getting bumped up by about $14 million a year, giving the state access to an estimated $94 million each year.
While great news for kids, CHIP isn’t just about the allotment.
More than 300 advocates for kids showed up in Olympia for our annual Have A Heart for Kids Day. Together we rallied, we marched, we caucused and we made sure lawmakers knew that “Kids are counting on you!”
As Children’s Alliance executive director Paola Maranan told the crowd at our rally on the capitol steps:
President Barack Obama is releasing the first installment of more than $339 million in new Medicaid dollars included in the stimulus package to states tomorrow (Wednesday, February 25). Washington state stands to receive more than $2 billion over the next 22 months on top of the federal Medicaid funds that normally flow into our state. This additional health care money should be used for health care programs, particularly to protect key health programs that are facing cuts in the state budget. (See the statement to this effect from the Washington State Hospital Association.) It’s also worth noting that Washington state needs to maintain current eligibility standards
We’ve shared the story of Sarah McIntyre and her mom, Vicky, who’s been fighting to get health care for her daughter. Now we’re delighted to report a happy ending. After a year-long rollercoaster ride, Sarah is getting the coverage she needs.
Details are still coming out about the stimulus deal U.S. House and Senate negotiators worked out in conference. The House approved the agreement this morning, and the Senate is expected to vote this afternoon.
We’ve gotten the lowdown on several of our key priorities, including estimates of what the stimulus could mean for children here in our Washington. The targeted support for kids should help us hold kids harmless as lawmakers cut their way to a balanced budget. Here’s the rundown:
The stimulus package that came out of conference included the higher House investments in early learning programs. $2 billion will go to the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, which supports low-income families in obtaining quality child care. That will bring an estimated $33 million into Washington’s early learning programs. Plus, Head Start and Early Head Start programs are set to get $2.1 billion nationwide--an estimated $5.3 million for Washington state. Early learning took a hit in the budget the Governor
A proposal to allow Washington schools to shorten the school week sounds at first glance like one of those think-outside-the-box moneysavers we’re all looking for in these hard times. Not so fast, explains Yakima School District Superintendent Ben Soria. He tells MSNBC that for many students the meals they get at school "may be the only real nutritional meals" they get on those days,
Do the math: shortening the school week from 5 to 4 would reduce the number of square meals these kids get by 20 percent, from up to 15