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.

Media Release: State Senator Pramila Jayapal honored for expanding high-quality early learning


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Adam Hyla E. Holdorf, Communications Director, Children’s Alliance, 206-326-9964

SEATTLE—State Senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37th) was honored for her commitment to the first five years of a child’s life today with a Crayon Award from the Early Learning Action Alliance.

The award was presented to Sen. Jayapal at a Rainier Valley preschool by representatives of the Early Learning Action Alliance and other advocates for quality early learning. The event was attended by families from throughout greater Seattle.

“Every child should have the right to access quality care,” said Zam Zam Mohamed, co-founder of Voices of Tomorrow, which aids child care providers in the East African immigrant community to meet state-level quality criteria. “Senator Jayapal has always been a strong advocate in early learning because she understands that school readiness is for every child.”

Twenty legislators recognized for efforts for young children


The Early Learning Action Alliance, 59 Washington organizations working together for the success of Washington’s youngest kids, has recognized 20 state Senators and Representatives for their achievements over the past two years.

Together, these legislators accomplished the following: 

  • passage of the historic, bipartisan Early Start Act, enhancing the quality and cultural relevance of early care;
  • fair compensation and critical training for in-home child care workers;

Poverty blocks progress, though Washington’s kids gain overall

 

Household incomes for Washington’s poorest families have yet to recover from the 2008 recession, according to the national 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation.

 

Washington is ranked 15th among the 50 states (PDF) in the Data Book this year; that’s four places higher than last year, when it was ranked 19th.

 

Since 2008, the number of children growing up without health coverage has improved by 38 percent. That’s good news, as coverage is all but essential for kids to see a health professional or get medicine when they’re sick. Credit is due to the state’s Cover All Kids law, which passed in 2007 and created affordable health coverage called Apple Health for Kids. The Affordable Care Act’s 2014 creation of a flexible market for individual plans has also propelled child coverage in Washington to one of the nation’s highest.

 

Yet the child poverty rate is nearly 30 percent higher than it was in 2008, with an additional 59,000 children growing up below the federal poverty level.

McCleary sanctions should advance, not restrict, educational opportunity

 

The state Supreme Court must not order action that would endanger children’s constitutional rights to educational opportunity.

 

So says an Amici Curiae brief filed by four organizations working together to advocate for kids in the context of the McCleary decision. The organizations are Columbia Legal Services, the Equity in Education Coalition, the Children’s Alliance and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

 

Almost half of all Washington children—4 in 10—live in a family with inadequate income. And a rising share of the state’s student body are children of color, who tend to face implicit, institutional and structural racial bias that forms imposing barriers to their success. These factors—whether they take the form of financial insecurity, homelessness, foster care placement, poorer access to health care or household hunger—make a child’s educational opportunity fragile. 

Love overflowing for Washington’s kids

 

Bremerton mother Natasha Fecteau has been learning how to make a difference for kids for several years. This year, she put her learning to work to a far greater extent than before.

Natasha believes child care ought to be within financial reach of parents who are struggling to earn a living. That’s why, when the Children’s Alliance issued a call this year for budget action to protect early learning and stable care for kids, she spoke up for Working Connections Child Care.

She believes timely, preventive oral health care ought to be available for kids and their families. So when Children’s Alliance pushed this year for the creation and authorization of dental therapists, she spoke up about her own arduous experience trying to find a dental professional she could afford.

New report: For 1 in 14 Washington kids, incarceration worsens the generational pull of poverty

 

One out of every 14 children in Washington state has at least one parent who is or has been incarcerated. These 109,000 kids’ counterparts nationwide total 5.1 million—a conservative estimate, according to a new KIDS COUNT report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

The number of children affected by incarceration in Washington is 6.5 times greater than the number of inmates in the state’s 12 correctional centers. The needs of these children, as they face increased risks and significant obstacles in life, are often overlooked. Research shows that having a parent imprisoned can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence.

report-image

 

According to the report, the number of children with a father in prison nearly doubled between 1991 and 2007, and those with a mother behind bars more than doubled. Compared with their White peers, Black and Latino kids are seven and three times more likely, respectively, to have a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives.

Good jobs: A great way to end childhood hunger

 

The Children’s Alliance has endorsed Initiative 1433 for a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave all across the state of Washington.

Why YES on 1433? Here’s why. 

KIDS COUNT Data Center chart: Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity

Children’s Alliance staff, volunteers and community partners recently re-imagined the future of our work to end childhood hunger. Among our conclusions were these: One way to fight hunger broadly, as well as improve the health, well-being and learning of Washington’s kids, is by erasing disparities across race and ethnicity. And, good jobs are a great way to end hunger.

Higher wages and access to paid sick leave stabilize families and help kids grow up healthy and strong. Approximately 1 in 5 children in our state live in poverty and face long-term barriers to success in school and in life. As this chart shows, Washington’s children of color are more likely to experience poverty than are White children. That’s because the adults in their households have fewer opportunities to work in the good jobs with benefits that are the cornerstone of American prosperity.