No Kidding: Children's Alliance Blog

The budget cuts’ impact on kids

Child holding "Kids Not Cuts" sign, Olympia, Feb. 2010

It’s the worst we’ve seen.

That’s our assessment of new cuts to state services. The across-the-board budget reductions are more severe than anything we’ve experienced recently. They’re also being made in an extremely challenging context.

The budget that was finalized this spring, during the last legislative session, did not anticipate the persistently slow economy. And, rather than our elected representatives deliberating in public over cuts, these decisions are being made by the Governor in consultation with agency secretaries and assistant secretaries. They are decisions as momentous as any made during the last legislative session, only without legislators convening to hear and represent their constituents’ concerns.

WA could win up to $1.3 million for home visiting

 

The federal government has finally released the guidelines states need to apply for their slice of $1.5 billion in new grant funding for home visiting programs, which connect new and expectant parents with trained nursing and early learning professionals.

The new guidelines issued late last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow Washington to apply for up to $1.3 million this year.

The first wave of these grants, part of federal health care reform that became law in March, will go to states this summer.

Over the next few weeks and months, we and our allies on the Washington Home Visiting Coalition will be working with state agencies and stakeholders on a plan for how Washington will use these home visiting funds.

Putting a healthy breakfast within kids’ reach

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

We at the Children’s Alliance partnered with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and the Washington State Dairy Council to recognize the school districts with gold, silver and bronze awards and cash prizes of $500-$1,500.

Racial Equity and Washington’s Children: a Call to Action

Race for Results cover

The new Race for Results report offers quantitative evidence of the barriers that prevent all our children from grasping the building blocks of success.

Here in Washington and across the country, no single group of children covered by the report—African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, or white—is meeting key milestones of child well-being. But children of color, especially, face greater barriers to opportunity.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers: Early learning sets kids “on a path for future success”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, center, at St. Anne’s Children’s Center; the Congressmember toured the center in the company of business leaders, child care professionals and public policy advocates.
Children’s Alliance was pleased to join Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on a tour of St. Anne’s Children’s and Family Center in Spokane Thursday. St. Anne’s is an early adopter of Washington state's Quality Rating Improvement System, Early Achievers, which is raising the bar for child care centers and early-learning programs throughout our early childhood education system.

Tribes educate legislators about the oral health care crisis in Indian Country


“Tribes are sovereign entities and there are cultural differences that have to be kept in mind whenever we do service provision, and it is best done by the tribe itself.”

—John Stephens, dental director of the Swinomish Indian Tribe

dental3By exercising their rights to tribal self-determination, Native American communities have a crucial means of saving lives and protecting their members’ health. Legislators are aware of this. That’s why the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee held a work session Feb. 25 on the oral health needs and the use of Dental Health Aide Therapists (dental therapists) in Indian Country.

Early Learning: Ambitious Goals Require Solid Funding


President Obama and Congress have both identified early learning as an important area of investment. The Washington State legislature should do the same and pass and fund the Early Start Act.

Our youngest kids deserve early learning opportunities that spark their curiosity, nurture their potential, and build their resilience. Consensus is growing: these opportunities lay a foundation for a strong future.

But far too many children don't get the early start they need. High quality early learning opportunities are often unaffordable or unavailable to the children who need them.

Dental is Essential—and House Bill 2467 Delivers


Children’s oral health matters for their whole bodies, and for the rest of their lives. Because oral health is vital to overall health, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) required insurance plans to take a whole-child approach and include pediatric dental and vision benefits into every health insurance plan sold.

That’s why we’re working hard to make House Bill 2467 into state law.

Food Assistance cuts: 1 in 3 households will feel the pangs


On Friday, February 7, President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill which had been approved by the House and the Senate earlier in the month.  The Children’s Alliance consistently opposed passage of this bill because of the harm it will cause to more than 232,000 Washington families – or 33 percent of all families using the Basic Food program. These families already had their food benefits cut in November when everyone – more than 1.1 million Washingtonians – depending on food assistance lost $25-45 in benefits.

Working toward a Proven Oral Health Solution

 

From Port Angeles to Pasco, from Walla Walla to Westport, too many of our most vulnerable neighbors are not getting the dental care they need.

When kids have untreated cavities, they spend their time in school dealing with their pain, not paying attention to their teacher. When adults have toothaches and infections, they miss work. For adults who have lost teeth to decay, it can be nearly impossible to find a decent job. Seniors often suffer silently, while oral health problems worsen and make them sick. In many of our communities, our emergency rooms are left to provide expensive, stop-gap care that treats the symptoms, and not the cause of the problem.

Last year, the state took great strides forward in providing insurance for more than 700,000 people in need.