Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

2019 ELAA Legislative Support Agenda

Support SEIU 925 FCC collective bargaining agreement:
Provisions include; Increasing EA reimbursement rates for levels 3 and 4; Increasing funding for professional development fund; Expand sub pool days and what they can be used for; Increasing transparency when the state believes an overpayment has occurred; State will cover costs for federally-mandated background checks for FFNs; Several financial issues in arbitration. Lead Organization is SEIU: Contact Erin Haick @

Support Expanding Bilingual Education in Washington State
Early Learning Specifics of this bill include:
• Support bilingualism from an early age and expand the number of dual language early learning programs, grants will be made available to childcare providers and ECEAP programs. These dual language programs will provide content-based instruction to students in two languages: English and a target language other than English spoken in the local community, for example Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, native languages, or indigenous languages.
• At least 50 percent of the instruction must be in the target language and gives priority to English Language Learners.
• Grant funds can be used to support professional development and capacity-building activities including, but not limited to curriculum development, training and professional development for teachers, coaches, and supervisors, and materials.
Lead Organization is OneAmerica: Contact Nimco Bulale @

Support Changes to Working Connections Child Care Program for Homeless Children and Families
Allow for 12-month authorization in WCCC subsidy for children and families experiencing homelessness. Lead Organization is WSA Head Start ECEAP and CCA: Contact Joel Ryan @ or Ryan Pricco @

Create a statewide Child Savings Account (CSA) program in Washington that would utilize the state’s 529 accounts to create a new CSA program with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) serving as the administering agency.
To ensure that the program is designed to advance equity, the policy proposal would include several key features:
• Automatic enrollment to ensure that parents and guardians who face barriers to navigating systems are not penalized and children are still benefitting from an account.
• Initial deposit by the state to kick start saving, incentives targeted at families with low- and middle-incomes, and matching funds to help savings grow more quickly.
• Exemption from determinations for public benefit eligibility.
Lead Organization is Washington Budget & Policy Center: Contact Jennifer Tran, Washington Budget and Policy Center

Support Implementation of the Families First Prevention Act.
This Act moves upstream, provides access to funds for prevention and early intervention services that are intended to keep children from entering foster care. Quality early learning programs, particularly home visiting, could be instrumental in order to achieve this goal. The FFPA is intended to strengthen families and help ensure that children receive what they need to be successful. Children of color are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system but with additional resources going to families the hope is that issues leading to their involvement with the system will be able to be addressed. Lead Organization is Partners for Our Children: Contact Laurie Lippold, for more information.

Eliminate the 20 hour/week work requirement for student parents
Support Legislation to direct DCYF to revise rules to eliminate the 20 hours/week work requirement for student parents at community & technical colleges, and to eliminate some restrictions on what degrees they can pursue. This proposal supports student parents of young children to expand their likelihood of gaining and maintaining economic security. It responds to research from New York State that indicates that community college student parents who were able to access childcare for heir children ages 0-5 were three times more likely to graduate or continue to a 4-year degree. Lead Organization is WSA Head Start & ECEAP: Contact Joel Ryan, or Katy Warren,

Implement an expanded version of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) in Washington State.
The WFTC is Washington State’s match of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which lifts more families with children out of poverty than any other federal program. The WFTC was passed by the legislature in 2008, but amid the Great Recession it was never funded enough to be implemented. This proposal would expand and modernize the WFTC by increasing the state match of the EITC to 15 percent (current statute is a 10 percent match) and ensuring all families in Washington can participate, including immigrant families. It would also recognize the value of caregiving and allow for low-income caregivers providing support to young children, an elderly adult, or a family member with a disability to be eligible for the credit. Lead Organization is Washington Budget & Policy Center: Contact David Hlebain, or Kelli Smith,

Support family, friend and neighbor caregivers (FFNs) by Investing in Kaleidoscope Play and Learn and the 1-2-3 Grow and Learn play group programs.
Providing $8-10 M in the 2019-2021 biennial budget to expand the existing evidence-based Kaleidoscope Play & Learn and the 1-2-3 Grow & Learn play group programs and the promising approach of housing play groups in community service offices.
Lead Organization is Child Care Aware of WA: Contact Ryan Pricco @

Strengthen the 2008 Children’s Safe Products Act
Currently the law requires manufacturers of kids’ products to report whether their product contains chemicals of high concern to kids’ health. This is a good start but the law must be strengthened to address additional chemicals and to require the
phase-out of chemicals that are harmful, including those that impact early learning, and replace them with safer alternatives.
Lead Organization is Toxic Free Future: Contact Carina Wells @

Support the Pierce County Pilot of Help Me Grow
Funding is needed to build out the centralized access point, start-up funds for medical provider and community outreach efforts, technical assistance for the local areas who begin implementation, and data collection and expand the program statewide. By normalizing parent support through universal home visiting with Family Connects, and ensuring easy access to further individualized services for the child through Help Me Grow, these two frameworks work in partnership to establish an inclusive system of support for young children across Washington State.
Lead Organization is First Five Fundamentals: Contact Susan Barbeau @

Protect, Strengthen & Leverage Funding for Educational Outcomes
The Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA), created when the Connecting Washington transportation package was approved by the Legislature in 2015 and affirmed in the Sound Transit 3 vote of the people in 2016, was created to improve educational outcomes in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties for children and youth who are low-income, homeless, and/or in the foster care system. Approximately $518 million in funding for children and youth will be collected and distributed between 2019-2035. The three counties will receive proportional funding based on Sound Transit service area population and will determine use of funds at the local level. Work is underway to determine the best ways to invest these funds at the county levels. Lead Organization is Child Care Resources: Contact Leslie Dozono @

Support Changes to the GRADS program
The Graduation, Reality and Dual-Role Skills program (GRADS) is a state program that helps young parent’s graduate high school. It’s a critical strategy for reducing intergenerational poverty, and we’re proposing some changes to strengthen the program. These elements include: Categorical eligibility for TANF for parents in high school; categorical eligibility for the minimum WCCC co-pay for student-parents, start-up costs for school-based child cares, and transportation for infants with parents on school buses. All these actions will increase child care access and affordability, and help young parents avoid a life of poverty for themselves and their children by retaining them in school. Lead Organization is United Way of King County: Contact Colleen Laing at

Reach Out and Read
The ask is a $700,000 investment in the 2019-2021 budget which includes $500,000 for core services and $200,000 for an early math pilot. Contact Jessica Mortensen at