Have a Heart for Kids Day 2020

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Affordable, high-quality child care is out of reach for the majority of Washington families, according to a first-of-its-kind survey of parents statewide. The survey, part of a recent report by the state Department of Commerce’s Child Care Collaborative Task Force, finds that: - 49 percent of Washington parents find it difficult to find, pay for and keep child care; - 27 percent quit their jobs or left school or training because of a lack of child care; - 9 percent were fired or dismissed because of child care issues.


SEATTLE—The Children’s Alliance, a Washington state-based advocacy organization dedicated to improving the well-being of children by effecting positive changes in public policies, priorities, and programs, yesterday announced two upcoming leadership transitions.

Deputy director Jon Gould will leave his position at the end of September. Gould has served Children’s Alliance for 22 years. Paola Maranan, executive director since 2004, will leave her position at the end of May 2020. Maranan has served Children’s Alliance for 26 years.


Washington voters support the Legislature authorizing dental therapy this year, according to a statewide poll released today by the Washington Dental Access Campaign.

The state legislature is currently considering House Bill 1317, a measure that would allow dental therapists to practice and be trained in Washington state.

The poll, conducted by Patinkin Research Strategies March 7-11, shows 62 percent of Washington voters in support of dental therapy to provide routine, preventive oral health care.


OLYMPIA – A key piece of legislation for babies, toddlers, preschool-age kids and their families took a step forward yesterday with the passage of the Washington Child Care Access Now Act (HB 1344), with strong bipartisan support in the state House of Representatives. “This bill is a triple win: for kids, families and communities,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of Children’s Alliance. “HB 1344 envisions a brighter day, one in which Washington families no longer struggle with the high costs of child care.”


Washington ranks as a top state for babies, according to a report released today by early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE and children’s research organization Child Trends. The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 is a first-of-its-kind resource that looks holistically at the well-being of America’s babies, providing a national snapshot and comparisons across states. The Yearbook compiles nearly 60 indicators—specifically for children ages 0 to 3—to measure progress across three policy areas: Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences.


OLYMPIA—Legislators have a solution to Washington state’s shortage of oral health providers: authorize dental therapists to work all across the state.

For too many Washington families, timely and routine oral health care is out of reach. In 37 out of the state’s 39 counties, too few dental professionals are meeting local needs.

PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA: Defensores y proveedores de servicios condenan la prueba de ingresos de "carga pública" de Trump

Sarah Sumadi, OneAmerica, (206) 723-2203 x226
Malou Chávez, Proyecto de los Derechos del Inmigrante, (206) 957-8633
Eric Holzapfel, Entre Hermanos, (206) 486-9755

SEATTLE— Personas que pueden verse afectadas por la regla de "carga pública" propuesta por Trump deben continuar participando en programas cruciales de salud, vivienda y nutrición, dice un grupo de defensores, abogados de inmigración y proveedores de servicios sociales llamados la coalición de Protección de Familias Inmigrantes – Washington.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Advocates, Service Providers Condemn Trump’s “Public Charge” Income Test

SEATTLE, Wash. — The Protecting Immigrant Families – Washington coalition condemns new regulations proposed by the Trump administration that would effectively impose an income test on family-based immigration and scare millions of families away from crucial health, housing and nutrition assistance. 

Four state legislators named Champions for Children

Four state lawmakers have been honored for their outstanding service on behalf of children in the 2018 state legislative session.

Each of the lawmakers partnered with the Children’s Alliance to ensure the passage of Senate Bill 5683, which advances family and community health by making affordable full-family coverage possible for thousands of Asian and Pacific Islander Washingtonians.

Six legislators honored for work to expand access to high-quality early learning

Six state legislators were honored for their commitment to the first five years of a child’s life on Saturday, Sept. 17 , with Crayon Awards from the Early Learning Action Alliance.

The awards were presented to Senators Joe Fain (R-47th) and Steve Litzow (R-41st) and Representatives Chad Magendanz (R-5th), Ruth Kagi (D-32nd), Eric Pettigrew (D-37th) and Tana Senn (D-41st) at Green River College by representatives of the Early Learning Action Alliance.

ADVISORY: Have a Heart for Kids Day brings kids, parents, advocates to Olympia to protect children and families

MEDIA ADVISORY: Fri., Feb. 12, 2016
WHO: Hundreds of parents, their children, and community leaders from across the state, including Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle.
WHAT: Rally to protect kids and families and deliver the message: “KIDS CAN’T WAIT!” Speaking will be Seattle mother Sebrena Burr, about the power of advocacy to change the lives of children; and Olympia student Ashley Terry, age 14, to tell about her experience struggling with the unmet need for dental care.

Children’s Alliance applauds U.S. Senate for Renewing support for Apple Health for Kids

SEATTLE—Advocates for children and families in Washington applauded the U.S. Senate for passing a bill yesterday that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. 
The vote follows passage of identical legislation in the House. It demonstrates that members of Congress overwhelmingly support the CHIP program and understand it is vital to keeping kids across the country healthy.

Statement on the House Budget Proposal

The investments in the House budget proposal will help our state’s children reach for their full potential. 
Funding for the historic, bipartisan Early Start Act will give parents more opportunities for quality early learning for their children. Early learning builds healthy families, safe communities and a strong economy.
The House budget also ends the 25 percent cut to food assistance for immigrant families.

Children’s Alliance applauds U.S. House passage of support for Apple Health for Kids

SEATTLE—Children’s health advocates in Washington state praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for taking action to ensure children in Washington state and across the nation continue to get the quality health coverage they need to succeed.
Today’s bipartisan House vote to renew funding for the highly successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will help ensure that kids from low- and moderate-income working families continue to receive the care they need to reach their full potential. 

Media Release: Advocates for children, families file Amicus Curiae Brief in McCleary v. Washington


Siobhan Ring, Mobilization Director, Children’s Alliance, (206) 851-6475;
Joaquin Uy, Communications Specialist, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, (206) 427-2999;
Charlie McAteer, Communications Consultant, Columbia Legal Services, (917) 696-1321,

For Immediate Release

MON., AUG. 4, 2014 — Advocates for children and families have filed an Amicus Curiae brief with the state Supreme Court, opposing one of the Court’s proposed remedies in the McCleary v. Washington case.

The Children’s Alliance, Columbia Legal Services and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance filed the brief this morning. The brief requests that, as the state moves to comply with the Court’s ruling, it refrain from funding education in a way that jeopardizes housing and other basic services to children and families.

“If we cut social programs to pay for education, everyone’s worse off,” says Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance. “In addressing our failure to uphold kids’ right to a basic education, we don’t want the solution to exacerbate the problem.”

Read the full release.

The filed motion and brief are available online here.


Today’s release of the KIDS COUNT® policy report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, unveils the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. The data can better inform policymakers who create policies and programs that can benefit all children, while targeting strategies and investments where attention is needed most.

Schools win cash for helping students "fuel up first"

Eight school districts across Washington state have earned honors for serving more students the first meal of the day: breakfast.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, the Washington State Dairy Council, and the non-profit advocacy group for kids the Children’s Alliance are recognizing the school districts with gold, silver and bronze awards and cash prizes of $500-$1,500. The Dairy Council provided funds for the awards, and for colorful award banners to hang in local schools.

MEDIA RELEASE: Community Organizations Speak Up for Equal Benefits for Hungry Families

Seventy-one community based organizations from across the state have joined together to call for full restoration of State Food Assistance for Washington children, elders, and families.

The organizations, representing people in communities of color and anti-hunger organizations like food banks, are asking state legislators to restore full funding to State Food Assistance, a crucial form of food support for children in immigrant families.

New Data Shows Critical Need to Invest in Children's Early Years

New national data shows that state and federal policies fail to connect thousands of Washington children to the opportunities they need for success in school and in life.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest KIDS COUNT policy report, “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success,” presents a strong case for investing in the early years of a child's life.

More than 1 Million Washingtonians to See a Cut in Food Assistance Beginning Tomorrow

On November 1, more than 1.1 million people in low-income families in Washington state will see their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expires. Read our joint press release with the Washington State Budget & Policy Center.

MEDIA RELEASE: "State of Washington's Children 2013" looks at racial opportunity gap

Today, KIDS COUNT in Washington releases a new report, “The State of Washington’s Children 2013: Good Data for a Strong Future.”

“The State of Washington’s Children 2013” describes how Washington’s children fare in education, health care, and basic needs. It also shares the perspectives of leaders in communities of color to help us understand what this data means for families all across the state.

Read the full press release.

Media Release: Apple Health for Kids wins millions in federal recognition

FRI., DEC. 21, 2012 – Apple Health for Kids, Washington’s health coverage program for children, has won $12 million from the federal government for connecting more children to health care.

The Obama Administration awarded the money, a performance bonus, to Washington on Wednesday. Our state was among 23 states nationwide to earn bonuses for getting more children enrolled in health coverage.

MEDIA RELEASE: Seattle school honored for feeding more kids a healthy breakfast

SEATTLE — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn visits Dearborn Park Elementary on Friday morning to honor its staff with a Super School award.

The award comes as part of the Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge, which has inspired school leaders across the state to serve healthy breakfasts to more students.

“A nutritious breakfast calms rumbling stomachs and focuses young minds,” Dorn says. “The Fuel Up First with Breakfast Challenge helps make sure kids are ready to learn when the school day begins.”

MEDIA RELEASE: Local lawmakers awarded for drawing the future for kids

Tacoma (Thursday, August 30, 2012) – First 5 FUNdamentals and the Early Learning Action Alliance are proud to recognize Sen. Mike Carrell (28th – Lakewood), Sen. Debbie Regala (27th – Tacoma) and Rep. Bruce Dammeier (25th – Puyallup) for their outstanding work in helping more children access early learning opportunities. Next Wednesday, Sept. 5, each will be presented with a Crayon Award.

KIDS COUNT Data Book shows Washington ranks low on economic security, high on children’s health

New national rankings of child well-being show that Washington’s kids have been hurt by hard times.

Washington ranks 18th out of all 50 states in the new KIDS COUNT Data Book, a detailed look at 16 indicators of child well-being grouped into four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.

The Data Book presents the most recent trends for kids in Washington and across the country, starting before the recession began and ending with the most recent year of available data. Read the KIDS COUNT in Washington press release.

HCCY Media Release: U.S. Supreme Court clears way for a healthier, more equitable Washington for our kids


(June 28, 2012) Release from Health Coalition for Children and Youth

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today preserving the Affordable Care Act clears the way for us to move forward with implementation of this historic law. Our state must take this opportunity and make the best possible choices for children and families to ensure that more Washingtonians have access to quality, affordable healthcare and coverage.

Read the full press release for our analysis and multiple media contacts.

Media Release: Hundreds of Kids, advocates to deliver Special Session children’s proclamation

Wednesday, November 30 – The first week of Special Session will have a memorable closing day on Friday in Olympia, when hundreds of kids, parents, and advocates stand together at Children’s Alliance’s Have a Heart for Kids Day: 2011 Special Session. This will culminate in a rally with parent and youth speakers, and a Proclamation by the Children of Washington released and delivered to legislators.

PRESS RELEASE: $80M for health coverage will brighten state budget outlook

Kids, advocates and medical professionals this morning announced $80 million in federal revenue the state is expected to receive in recognition of Apple Health for Kids.
This federal money provides a sensible way to provide health coverage for all eligible children and avoid any unnecessary reductions.

“We have what it takes to continue Apple Health for Kids,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance. Read more.

Lea esta reporte en Espanol.

Press Release: National foundation awards Children's Alliance grant to help cover more kids

Feb. 23, 2011 – Today, the Children’s Alliance announces its receipt of a $120,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation under the Foundation’s Insuring America’s Children: Getting to the Finish Line initiative.

This grant coincides with the two-year anniversary of the reauthorization of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and will support the Children’s Alliance in its work to advance policies and best practices that can help cover Washington children.

Press Release: Hundreds head to Olympia rally to Stand Strong for Kids

Have a Heart for Kids Day convenes hundreds of parents, youth, and children’s advocates from all over Washington to protect Apple Health for Kids, child care, and food assistance for Washington’s hungry families; we’ll advocate to raise revenue for the shared economic prosperity of all Washingtonians. We’re asking lawmakers to stand strong with Washington’s children and families this legislative session.

Press Release: Bill would ease kids' oral health crisis

House Bill 1310 would bring a time-tested response to oral health care problems among Washingtonians of all ages: a dental therapist, a new mid-level oral health provider that enhances the work of dentists.

The bill is getting a hearing before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 8 a.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room B.

Press Release: Thousands lose income assistance today

Today the Department of Social and Health Services stops the payment of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to more than 5,000 families raising approximately 10,000 children across the state.

“Today is a sad day for the state of Washington,” says Children’s Alliance Deputy Director Jon Gould. “The recession has already pushed 40,000 of Washington’s children into poverty. Now, one of the public structures that helps families survive hard times is being dismantled when it is needed most.”

Media Release: $17.6 Million Reward Could Sustain Apple Health for Kids

(Monday, Dec. 27, 2010) — Apple Health for Kids, Washington’s health coverage program for children, has won $17.6 million from the federal government − a timely windfall that could prevent thousands of children from losing their health coverage.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money, a performance bonus, to Washington and 14 other states with health coverage programs that are doing outstanding work to enroll eligible children.

Media Release: Hunger up 36 percent in Washington state


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2010 – A report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that hunger in Washington is taking a higher toll on families in 2009 than in previous years. Since the economic recession took root in the state in 2008, the number of Washington families struggling to put food on the table has spiked.

The number of Washington households that are food insecure, meaning they struggle to afford enough nutritious food, rose from 288,000 to 367,000 in 2009, a 27 percent increase over the prior year. The rise in households that are hungry was even more striking: 152,200 Washington households met the definition for hunger (called “very low food insecurity” in the report), up 40,200 or 36 percent.

We're in the News: Seattle Times Op-Ed

Children's Alliance Executive Director Paola Maranan authored an Op-Ed published in the Seattle Times on Sunday, November 7th, 2010. She makes the case that Congress should protect funding for Working Connections Child Care by passing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund. The article makes it clear that failing to protect the Working Connections child care and employment program can only hurt kids, families, and the Washington state's economic recovery.

Dental therapists could improve kids' oral health

TUESDAY, OCT. 26 2010 - Dental therapists are providing safe, competent, and appropriate oral health care, according to a multi-year study of their work in five Alaska communities.

The study, released today, is the first major independent assessment of dental therapists working in the United States. Its results will inform the Children’s Alliance’s work to expand access to oral health care for families in Washington.


Child and senior advocates teamed up today to send a joint message to Governor Gregoire and other state lawmakers: Keep Washington’s values at the core of the budget debate.  

The Seattle Times published an Op-Ed co-authored by Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance, and Ingrid McDonald, advocacy director of AARP Washington. They write:


Right now Congress has the once-every-five-year opportunity to improve the quality of school, child-care and summer meals and make them available to more children.

The Seattle Times ran an oped by Linda Stone, senior food policy coordinator at the Children's Alliance, calling on Congress to listen to the call that President Obama and anti-hunger experts have made to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act with an increase of $1 billion per year over 10 years.


On Friday, July 2, three initiative campaigns turned in voter signatures in hopes of qualifying for the November ballot. State officials will determine whether the initiative campaigns have enough valid voter signatures to meet the requirement.

One of these initiatives is I-1107, which would slash state revenues raised from new taxes on pop, candy, gum and other non-essential items. I-1107 is mainly funded by the American Beverage Association, which has given almost $2.5 million to the campaign.


Lawmakers in Olympia are considering establishing a Washington Food Policy Forum, currently sponsored by Sen. Ken Jacobson, Senate Bill 6343. Linda Stone, senior food policy coordinator of the Children's Alliance, and Jim Baird, a farmer in the Royal City area, discuss why the Forum would address food costs, access to healthy food and finding ways to support local farms. They write:


A proposal enacting a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to restore funding for health and dental services draws support from some advocates, including the Children's Alliance, and criticism from the soda industry. Olympia Newswire reviews the history of soda industry tax exemptions and how current lobbying efforts may remove the proposal from the table.


The latest proposal to extend the sales tax to candy, now exempt as a food item, is drawing both opposition and support in Olympia. The Children's Alliance supports the proposal, which would use the revenue from taxed candy to restore medical and dental programs for children. Teresa Mosqueda, advocacy & legislative relations for the Children's Alliance, says:

“We can no longer afford to subsidize candy and sweets. These items are not food items.”


As the Washington Legislature debates enacting a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, three guests columnists in health care professions make their case for supporting a tax that would both save taxpayers money, reduce childhood obesity, and provide basic health care, nutrition and health-related educational programs.

Benjamin Danielson, M.D., vice president of the Children's Alliance board, David Fleming, M.D., director and health officer of Public
Health-Seattle & King County, and Lenna L. Liu, M.D., pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital write:


The latest tax proposals from the House, Senate and Governor Gregoire place many child and family programs on the chopping block. Child advocates, including the Children's Alliance, are urging lawmakers to consider the effects on business if child care funding for over 7,000 low-income families is cut. 

Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, says:

MEDIA RELEASE: Senate, house budgets raise much-needed revenue


Senate and House lawmakers have rightly proposed budgets that raise substantial new revenue to protect some of the vital services that are helping children and families weather this punishing recession. But more revenue is needed to prevent devastating cuts to safety-net programs that, if enacted, would hurt families and pose serious threats to our state’s economic recovery.

Update: Call for Nominees for Voices for Children Awards

Do you know of a great child advocate? Someone who works to change the lives of children in Washington by making sure that our laws and budgets serve their needs? Someone who works to make kids our highest
priority? Tell us about them! 

Each year, the Children’s Alliance honors outstanding child advocates at our Voices for Children Awards Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will be held on May 20th at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. Nominations are now closed for the 2010 Voices for Children awards. 


As lawmakers work in Olympia, the Children's Alliance and the Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition, of which the Children's Alliance is a member, continue to advocate for offsetting painful cuts with new revenue. 

Jon Gould, the Children’s Alliance Deputy Director, pointed out that HB 3183, has more elements than just a sales tax increase for the general fund. The bill would also direct new revenue to highway projects and public transportation.

WE'RE IN THE NEWS: Don't Skimp on Kids


The Seattle Times invited the Children's Alliance and a handful of other organizations to write an oped giving state lawmakers advice for the upcoming session.

We urged them not to turn their backs on the children and families who need them most. "If we do," Executive Director Paola Maranan wrote, "we would only create problems that become costlier to solve down the road."


The Children's Alliance continues to obtain coverage surrounding the announcement that Washington won a $7.5 million "performance bonus" for the state's health insurance program for low- and moderate-income kids. The extra money, which the Children's Alliance worked hard to help the state secure, can and should be used to stop 16,000 kids from losing Apple Health for Kids coverage.

The Olympian article quotes Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance, who called on lawmakers to:

Media Release: Big Boost for Apple Health for Kids

(Dec. 17, 2009) — Washington’s health insurance program for children has won a $7.5 million performance bonus from the federal government − a timely windfall that could prevent thousands of children from losing their Apple Health for Kids coverage.

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the bonuses to nine states that met enrollment targets and other conditions, such as streamlining their application and renewal procedures.

MEDIA RELEASE: Summer meals reach only 16 percent of kids who eat free lunch at school

December 2, 2009— A new report from the Children’s Alliance shows that merely 16 percent of the 280,000 children who eat free lunches during the school year have access to similar meals during the summer months.

The report, “Summertime Hunger in Washington State,” includes initial data from the summer of 2009 that suggest more children flocked to the summer meal programs during the recession, but that the programs operated for fewer days as school districts, parks departments and other organizations cut back due to budget woes.

We're in the news: Hunger in Washington up 24 percent

Several media outlets picked up on our Hungry in Washington report, including the Seattle Times, Northwest Public Radio (KPLU and KUOW), the Olympian, and Real Change. The Seattle Times added information from Linda Stone, our Senior Food Policy Coordinator, to a national Associated Press story:

 "We need more family-wage jobs, and federal nutrition programs should be stronger," Stone said. She also hopes the state Legislature will act to help pay for summer meal programs for children who depend on breakfast and lunch programs in public schools during the school year.

"There are children in classrooms across the state who may be coming into classrooms without dinner," Stone said. "We see school feeding programs as rock- bottom important."

Media release: Hunger in WA up 24 percent

November 16, 2009 -- A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that hunger in Washington is on the rise as the effects of the recession take their toll on Washington families.

Estimated Washington households that are food insecure, meaning there may not be enough to eat, rose to 288,000 in 2008, a 13 percent increase over the prior year. The rise in households that are hungry was even more striking: 112,000 Washington households met the definition for hunger (called “very low food insecurity” in the report), an increase of 24 percent.

Media Release: Children must come out of federal health reform better off, not worse

September 18, 2009—The Children’s Alliance today released the following statement about federal health reform and health coverage for Washington’s children. Jon Gould, Deputy Director, said:

“We in Washington have done better than average in taking care of the health needs of our children. We were among the first states in the nation to pledge to cover every child by 2010. And we have built a coverage program, Apple Health for Kids, that has delivered comprehensive, affordable coverage to thousands of children who otherwise would have relied on the emergency room for their health care needs.

We expect health reform efforts in Washington, D.C. to support our state’s laudable goals for children’s health care—not work against them. Children must come out of federal health reform better off than they were before, not worse. Our Congressional delegation has a history of standing up for children’s health coverage. They stood up for kids when the Children’s Health Insurance Program faced reauthorization earlier this year, and we need them to stand up for kids again as health reform bills are amended and the process moves forward.

We're in the news: Summer meals slipping for kids

The Spokane Spokesman-Review published an op ed on August 29th from our Senior Food Policy Coordinator, Linda Stone. The piece talked about the growing need for summer food programs at a time when budget cuts are forcing many such programs to shut down. Here's an excerpt:

While many of us think of summer as a time of bounty, overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables, for low-income families summer can be a time of deprivation. For thousands of children in these families, going back to school means a return to at least two solid meals a day.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We're in the news: Improving children's health care must be a recession-proof task

The Daily News in Longview picked up on our press release about the latest children's uninsurance numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and wrote an editorial praising the state's commitment to covering kids. Here's an excerpt:

The Census Bureau data show that the number of uninsured children in this state held steady, at about 107,000, between 2007 and 2008, according to Children’s Alliance. The state advocacy group reported that 93.2 percent of children in the state had health coverage in 2008. Credit both Congress and Washington lawmakers for holding the line with regard to providing care for children....

We're in the news: Stimulus Shores Up Early Learning

The Seattle Times published a guest opinion piece by Children's Alliance Executive Director Paola Maranan and Chris Korsmo, Executive Director of the League of Education Voters. Here's an excerpt;

MILLIONS of American children were thrown a lifesaver this spring when President Obama dedicated $4 billion of federal stimulus money — including about $50 million for Washington — to shore up Head Start, Early Head Start and other programs that help low-income families find good child care and preschool options for their kids.

Press Release: Governor's early learning veto a shock and disappointment

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.

Press Release: 2009 Voices for Children Award Winners

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.

BLOG: What the session meant for early learning

CharlieIt’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.

Update: Voices for Children Awards Nominees Announced

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.

BLOG: Senate makes early learning part of "basic education"

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.

BLOG: This is a kid's brain on poverty

A new study of child poverty shows that the chronic stress of growing up poor hurts brain development.

The research offers insight into how poverty can limit the learning potential of children and may contribute to the achievement gap in school by impairing the brain's working memory. The working memory is the kind of memory that can hold a small amount of current information, like a list of numbers, to work with.

We're in the news: After a lengthy lull, income tax buzz gets louder (Longview Daily News)

The Longview Daily News quoted Children's Alliance depute director Jon Gould in an analysis of a possible income-tax for Washington State.

“We believe the amount of revenue the state is generating is inadequate,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the advocacy group Children’s Alliance. “We think the crisis we’re in calls for bold solutions and bold leadership.”

Read the full story>>

BLOG: Why the Children's Alliance supports a tax on high incomes

Washington is a delightful place to live, work, and raise children. We’re a state that believes in giving our children the best possible education and providing the college opportunities that allow graduates to get good jobs at cutting-edge businesses. We protect and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. We’re committed to ensuring that our children can get the health care, food and other basics they need to grow, learn and thrive.

That quality of life is now threatened by this severe recession and our flawed tax structure.

We're in the News: ...Finally Someone Says It (Publicola.Net)

Publicola took note of the Children's Alliance statement about the release of the budget.

...their statement is more measured than the other communiques that have come in this afternoon (they got a lot of what they wanted like a prized children’s health program—thanks in part to the Feds—and a school meals program), Children’s Alliance Executive Director Paola Maranan concludes with perhaps the most dramatic statement of the day: A call for a tax on the rich.

We're in the news: In Hard Times Kids Should at Least Count on School Means (Bellingham Herald)

An opinion piece in the Bellingham Herald makes the case for protecting school meals.

At a school in Whatcom County not long ago, a second-grade teacher was at her wits end about what to do with a boy who misbehaved constantly, disrupting class and disregarding her requests. It took months before she learned what the problem was: he was hungry. When he began receiving free school breakfast and lunch the behavior problems stopped.

My story - an ECEAP teacher

I have been a teacher with the ECEAP program for almost 7 years now. I have worked in many Early Learning programs that provide a head start on learning but ECEAP truly provides a start for the whole family. We are truly making a difference so many ways.

Not only are the children having something consistant going on in their lives every day but the parents are getting their GED, taking ESL classes, asking for help in job searching and attending parenting classes to learn parenting skills.

We're in the News: (Columbian) Early Childhood Aid is on the Budget's Brink

The state-funded program known as ECEAP wraps children in a nurturing safety net of preschool education, nutritious meals, medical and dental referrals, social services and more.

It serves the poorest of Washington's working poor: families with incomes below 110 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,320 a year for a family of four) and their preschool children, including 378 in Clark County.

Nearly half of all families it serves statewide this year have household

We're in the news: (Seattle P-I) Report: Recession to put 40,000 more state kids in poverty

Another 40,000 children will be living in poverty in Washington by this spring, if the economic forecast holds true, according to a report released this week by Washington Kids Count.

...With the announcement Thursday that the state's shortfall has reached $9 billion, children's advocates urged legislators to save programs that help families.

Blog: Will lawmakers halt progress on student health?

The state just released its biennial Healthy Youth Survey, which gathers anonymous responses from middle and high school students around the state on a number of health-related topics.

The survey results show some great progress on nutrition, but the improvements could come to a halt if the state moves forward with a bill to eliminate nutrition and physical exercise goals in the schools.

Blog: Home visiting offers help when parents need it most

At age 19, Laura Montejano had cut off ties to her family in a fit of teenage anger and rebellion. Partly to spite her family, she got married—and didn’t tell them. Her new husband, Francisco, was young too, and new to Washington state, with no community ties. Neither had a college diploma; Laura worked as a nursing assistant and Francisco bused tables in a restaurant.
So when she found herself pregnant, she panicked.  “I felt so alone,” Laura said. She knew she needed help. “I knew I needed something, but I didn’t know what.”

We're In the News: (Olympian) Children's insurance popular among families, lawmakers

Have a Heart for Kids Day was covered in the Olympian on Saturday with a story about children's health and early learning, and some great photos of the rally. 

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp said Friday that he wants coverage for children to become part of the state's fundamental obligation to children, like basic education.

Read the full story>>

We Rely on Play and Learn

My name is Bhuvane, and I live in Bellevue. I have a two year old who loves interacting with other kids in a fun environment. She has got some friends and is learning to enjoy their company and share with them while enjoying stories. If funding for Play and Learn is cut, we will miss the learning our kids get. It’s difficult to find a place where kids can play

Blog: Extra Medicaid funds coming Washington’s way tomorrow

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

Update: Do you know a great child advocate?

Do you know of a great child advocate? Someone who works to change the lives of children in Washington by making sure that our laws and budgets serve their needs? Someone who works to make kids our highest priority? Tell us about them! 

Each year, the Children’s Alliance honors outstanding child advocates at our Voices for Children Awards Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will be held on June 4 at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. 

Blog: What's in the stimulus bill for Washington kids?

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:

Early Learning

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

Blog: Short School Week Leaves Kids Hungry

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

President Obama and Children's Health

What a joy it was to hear President Obama’s words when he signed the children’s health bill into law yesterday:

“I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs. In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiations, and health care for our children is one of those obligations.”

These words are music to ears of the thousands of members of the Children’s Alliance. We have been fighting for years for health care for every

Press Release: House fiscal bill restores WA Apple Health for Kids coverage

February 2, 2009 (Seattle)—The 2007-2009 fiscal bill (HB1694) approved by the State House of Representatives today restores critical funding for the state’s Apple Health for Kids program, and directs the state to restart coverage that was suspended in mid-December. Coverage for uninsured children in families earning between 250 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level—which was originally scheduled to start January 1—could now begin as soon as the supplemental budget bill is signed by the Governor.

We're in the news: (Seattle Times - Politics NW) Children's advocacy group marches on capital

The Seattle Times Politics NW blog covered Have a Heart for Kids day on Friday and included a quote from Deputy Director Jon Gould as well as links back to our website.

 "We're very concerned that budget cuts are going to hurt children and families, and make Washington a state we don't recognize, and a state that would not be good to raise families in," said Jon Gould, the deputy director of Children's Alliance.

Press release: CHIP Funding More Than Enough to Protect Apple Health for Kids

Federal children’s health insurance legislation that is making its way to President Barack Obama’s desk is expected to give Washington’s Apple Health for Kids program a $15 million shot in the arm. With new funding available through the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Washington state can and should sustain the Apple Health for Kids program as outlined in the state’s 2007 Cover All Kids law.

Read the full press release.

Bright Spots

As we dig into a legislative session in the middle of an economic crisis, with bad news coming out of the woodwork, it’s inspiring to see a few bright spots that offer children and families hope for lasting change.

Until now our state's education policy has been based on the assumption that a basic education starts at kindergarten. But study after study is finding that kids’ brains and their futures are being molded years before they set off for their first day of "school". Kids who don’t get access to high-quality preschool, usually low-income children, start school behind, and many stay behind.

Yesterday morning we sent out a message to the Children’s Alliance Early Learning subscribers about proposed legislation that would raise early childhood education to an unprecedented height in Washington State.

Parents as Teachers

Submitted by Jere VanMeter, LMFT, Coordinator, Parents as Teachers of Kittitas County, Ellensburg, WA - 
I came here several years ago from Los Angeles where they had roughly 50,000 children in the foster care system. This was heartbreaking at best!

We're in the News: DSHS warns clients of budget cuts

Programs for elderly, children likely to be eliminated The Olympian January 12, 2009 By Adam Wilson The state Department of Social and Health Services has been working to inform those its serves about $370 million in cuts to its budget by June.  The agency sent out notice to families who signed up for state health insurance and make between 250 percent and 300 percent of the poverty level, telling them that the program was canceled because of cuts in this year's budget.

Read the full story>>

Advocating for Early Learning

Submitted by Lynne Jasin - My son recently was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disorder, making it hard for him to learn and behave correctly in social situations. He now attends special education pre-school so that he may develop the skills needed to enter kindergarten and beyond. without these classes my son would be far behind other children his age his whole life, both mentally and socially. please, i implore you to NOT cut funding for my son and other children like him.

Our Story

Submitted by Heather Gerard, Camano Island - I am currently a WWU Human Services Student and a mother of 2 who is struggling as I move off of state assistance.

My oldest daughter Jessy attended the Skagit/ Island head Start Program in Concrete, WA where she and I both found our passions, hers in learning and attending school, and mine in Family Support.

We're in the news: Community clinics worry about proposed cuts in health care

The Bellingham Herald published a story about the dramatic impacts of the health care cuts proposed by Governor Gregoire in her budget released December 18th. The article quotes Children's Alliance lobbist Teresa Mosqueda as well as medical providers who are struggling to meet the health care needs of under- and un-insured kids and families in Washington.

Action: Join the Virtual Rally

Proposed cuts in the state budget slash entire programs that kids’ need to be safe, healthy and succeed. Take action! The I'm Counting On You! Virtual Rally is happening now. 

Check it out and join now! 

You can print and share this flyer - also available in spanish.

There are three ways you can join the rally: 

Option 1: Add your picture

Take a photo of yourself – or take a photo of your kid(s) (with or without you in it) holding a sign that says “I’m counting on you”. You can make your own sign or download and print this one.

E-mail your picture to us.  In your e-mail include the following: Your name and the city or town you live in, if you want that information included. By sending in your picture you are agreeing that we can post it on our website as part of the  “I’m Counting On You” virtual rally.

Why donate? 238 kids, every day.

Why give to the Children's Alliance during the Leadership Campaign?

All of us are living in a time of economic uncertainty. For that very reason it is a vital time to make a donation to the Children's Alliance.

You can give whatever amount is affordable to you. We just ask that you consider the extraordinary times we are in, and how much is at stake for Washington's kids.

Donate now, and you are protecting kids when they need you most.

Welcome to our new website!

We hope it helps you connect to the Children’s Alliance and kids issues and put your beliefs into action.

Here you can find the latest news, get advocacy resources, find a training tool, take action for kids and more.

Looking for something in particular? Use the helpful search box on the upper right hand corner.

Above all this site is intended to make it as easy as possible for you to turn your passion for kids into the action they need.

Making Child Welfare Work for All Kids

Kids of color, particularly African American, Native American and Latino children are more likely to enter into the child welfare system, and once there, they stay in the system longer than white kids. This information is not a surprise to child advocates or communities of color, but it has now been verified by a report issued by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy for the statewide Racial Disproportionality Advisory Committee.

Action Alert! Keep early learning off the chopping block

Advisors to the Governor just went through the state's budget. They made recommendations for what to fund and what to cut. Unfortunately, they have recommended that she cut out highly effective and desperately needed early learning programs.

Governor Gregoire is writing her budget at this very moment. Don't sit by and let our state's leader make a foolish decision to cut early learning programs that are proven to save money - and prepare our kids to succeed.

Hunger on the rise

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on food security is sounding an early alarm about growing hunger in Washington households as the state and nation enter a recession. The survey’s data were gathered in 2007, before the state’s economy had taken a serious downturn, and yet they show significant food insecurity and hunger in Washington, particularly in the state’s rural counties.

Read our report: Hungry in Washington 2008.

Apple Health for Kids provides a lifeline for struggling families

As more and more Washington families feel the economic pinch and struggle to pay their bills, legislation passed almost two years ago is extending a lifeline of health security. Beginning January 1, 2009, Washington’s Apple Health for Kids phases in for children in families up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, around $52,800 a year for a family of three. The state will begin accepting applications for health coverage for these families beginning the last week of November (for coverage that will start January 1, 2009). One of the first children in line for this program will be seven-year-old Sarah McIntyre of Yakima. Sarah was born with a hole in her heart and cysts on one lung.

Read the Children’s Alliance press release.

Children's Alliance in the News: Vote for Us!

Parent Map, in its October issue, offers up "an analysis of the major issues and races affecting families" in Washington. Topping the list are a number of Children's Alliance priorities, including early learning, children's health coverage and foster care. The article also features the Children's Alliance legislative agenda for the 2009 session and multiple quotes from our own deputy director, Jon Gould, inlcuding this one on the subject of early learning:

We're in the news: More families will qualify for food stamps

The Spokesman Review in Spokane carried a great story about how nearly impossible it is to feed a family a balanced, healthy diet on a tight budget. The article quotes the Children’s Alliance’s very own food policy expert, Linda Stone, and highlighted the expansion of food stamp eligibility that will go into effect on October 1st. The expansion, which was a big victory in the 2008 legislative session, will open up food stamps to 23,000 more families.

Read the full story.

We're in the News: Living Food: Hunger amid plenty

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board came out strongly in favor of advancing programs that feed children in Washington State. The editorial noted the invisibility of childhood hunger:

“Hunger among Washington's children can be hard to detect. Their teachers may only notice inattention and crankiness.”

As well as making a strong case for investing now in the needs of hungry families and children.

We're in the news: Washington's task is to feed the children

Renowned chef and author Tom Douglas spoke up for the Children's Alliance's plan to end childhood hunger in a guest editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last week.

"As a chef, I take pleasure in feeding people. As a citizen, I find it appalling that people in my community are hungry...End Childhood Hunger Washington's 10-point strategic plan lays out how we can end childhood hunger in our state."

Court Holds State Accountable

Children living in foster care need what all kids need: love, stability, health, safety and a path to create a successful adult life. For too long in Washington State children living in foster care haven't gotten what they need. A court decision in early July ordered the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to keep the promises made to foster kids in the 2004 settlement of the Braam v. Washington lawsuit.

Early Learning = Basic Education

Seventeen organizations, including the Children's Alliance, have issued a statement to the Washington State Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance urging the members of the Task Force to include early learning in the revised definition of Basic Education.

"Washington State cannot ensure a basic education for all, let alone reach a higher goal, without ensuring that children gain the intellectual and social skills required for success in school prior to entering the K-12 system."