In this edition, Washington begins 2012 with millions in national recognition for Apple Health for Kids just after winning a competition from the Obama Administration to advance and extend quality early learning throughout our state. In other news, routine dental health care is out of reach and unaffordable for too many, so some states are looking to add a new provider to the dental workforce.
$17M bonus to state for insuring children's health | The Olympian (The Politics Blog) | 12-30-2011
The Washington state Health Care Authority said today it is receiving nearly $17 million as a federal bonus payment for having enrolled children in subsidized health-care coverage. This follows similar awards of $20.65 million last year and $7.85 million in 2009, based on the state’s enrollment in its Apple Health for Kids program. ... “This is something to celebrate,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance. “In a few short years, advocates for kids and lawmakers have built Apple Health for Kids into a national model for children’s health coverage.”
Bright Spot: Washington wins federal reward for insuring kids | Crosscut.com | 01-05-2012
Clearly, despite what can seem like endless bad news from Olympia, Washington has made good progress for many of its youngest, most vulnerable citizens during hard times.
Court ruling won't protect schools from new cuts | The Seattle Times | 01-05-2012
Lauren McGuire, the president of the Seattle Council PTSA, noted that while the decision eventually may move the state in the right direction, it will not help many students now in school. "It's difficult for those kids who are in school between now and the next six years," said McGuire.... "Six years is a long time to wait in the life of a child.
Washington Governor elated after introducing marriage equality bill: 'I feel so much better today' | Thinkprogress.org | 01-04-2012
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) announced that she will be introducing legislation to legalize same-sex marriage during a press conference this morning, saying, “now it’s our time, it’s this generation’s call to end discrimination.” Linking the fight for marriage equality to racial justice, Gregoire debunked common arguments against gay and lesbian unions and described domestic partnerships — which the state allows — as “discriminatory” and “separate but equal.”
Editorial: Kids’ health, education gets a boost from Uncle Sam | The Spokesman-Review | 01-03-2012
He didn’t wrap them in festive paper and affix glittery bows, but Uncle Sam did deliver a couple of huge gifts to Washington state this holiday season. … What’s remarkable is that during a time of deep economic troubles, the nation has been able to extend early learning opportunities and health coverage to a higher percentage of children. Those efforts reflect commendable values, which the state of Washington has worked hard to uphold.
Even as unemployment drops, demand for food stamps rises | KUOW News | 12-30-2011
2011 saw modest signs of economic recovery in the Northwest. Washington, Oregon and Idaho all had slight dips in unemployment rates. But another economic indicator reveals it's been a hard year for many families in all three states. That is, the number of people on food stamps.
Editorial: Getting a running start on the Race to the Top | The Seattle Times | 12-23-2011
Quality preschools are key to improving long-term academic achievement. Washington state's $60 million share of the Race to the Top federal grants will go a long way toward improving preschool programs across the state. … our state's focus on education for preschoolers garnered notice and much-needed funding. The money should drive two important efforts: One is advancing day-care efforts beyond safety and care to the equally critical components of learning and child development. The second is a healthy shift of attention and early-learning resources toward kids from low-income families and families learning to speak English. These kids are least likely to receive quality early learning.
Op-Ed: Too many families can’t afford a dentist — and that costs us all | Real Change News | 12-21-2011
Families, including children, from all parts of the state should have equal access to routine dental care that can stave off serious dental problems, which are a precursor to serious health problems elsewhere. Dentists like me who work in community settings know that good oral health makes for better lives. Let’s explore new ways to deliver dental care affordably and effectively to help more people live, work and learn pain-free.
Why are dentists opposing expanded dental care? | Governing Magazine | January 2012
Poor oral health has been linked to serious problems like cardiovascular disease, worsening diabetes, osteoporosis and premature birth. Regular dental care is, therefore, a key component in reducing costs associated with the care of those chronic diseases. But dental care is hard to come by in underserved areas of the country. Try finding a dentist in the remotest rural or deepest urban pockets of the land, and for blatantly economic reasons, they just aren’t there. That’s why states are looking to fix the problem by creating a so-called mid-level dental provider.
State child care state cuts force hard choices on parents | The Associated Press | 12-29-2011
State legislatures dealing with multibillion dollar budget deficits during the recession have been targeting child care subsidies as one way to help balance their state budgets. The cuts have come at just the time many parents need that help the most because full-time, well-paying jobs are in such short supply.
Editorial: The School Lunch Barometer | The New York Times | 12-29-2011
School systems across the country are doing a better job registering needy families for the lunch program, thanks to a 2004 law that requires them to match enrollment lists with lists of welfare and food-stamp recipients. While that has brought in more students, experts say the bad economy is the main factor for the increase. … While critics of safety-net programs will inevitably complain about the cost, the real problem is that so many millions of American children need this help.