No Kidding: Children's Alliance Blog

Record-high hunger means it’s no time to slash nutrition programs

 

Last year, Washington’s rate of hunger hit an all-time high since the federal government began keeping records 16 years ago, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From 2007 to December 2011, 75,000 more Washington households have found themselves unable to provide enough food for their kids. One in four of our state’s 1.5 million children are coping with hunger. That’s a lot of empty refrigerators, meal-stretching and meal-skipping, and nights spent worrying about where the next meal comes from.

Kids in the News, September 11, 2012

 

This week, Children’s Alliance takes a stand for kids and racial equity by endorsing state ballot measure Initiative 502. In other state news, a new report shows that child hunger has spiked faster than surrounding states as deep food stamp cuts are considered at the federal level, and the Governor is recognized for her achievements in early learning during her eight-year term. Last week, early learning advocates awarded Rep. Bruce Dammeier and Sens. Mike Carrell and Debbie Regala Crayon Awards for their outstanding work on early learning in Washington. And finally, one elder advocate says Washington needs a new licensed dental practitioner to extend quality dental care to underserved seniors and families.

Everett mom develops confidence and skills at Advocacy Camp

 

Pam and family

Pam Oliver of Everett has been a daily advocate for her five-year-old son, Steve Jr., since he was born prematurely at 25 weeks weighing just over 3 pounds.

“Having a medically fragile son, I had a lot to say, but wasn’t sure how to say it and whom to say it to,” remembers Pam.

She got some concrete answers when she attended Advocacy Camp last year, where she took an interactive workshop on state government. This gave her an in-depth look at the legislative process and opportunities to ask detailed questions. Before this, says Pam, “I did not know that the average person could have a say in legislative issues.”

Advocacy Camp strengthens one parent’s skills, voice for early learning

 

Kylee Allen of Oak Harbor knows how effective advocacy can create better opportunities for kids. Her eldest daughter Delaney, now 10, is a living testament to how Head Start can set a strong foundation for success in K-12.

Kylee and family

"Delaney, who had a severe speech delay, found the confidence she needed to speak up for herself,” says Kylee. “All my children are ‘A’ students and avid readers. These are skills that we learned together while at Head Start.”

Kylee attended Advocacy Camp in 2010, where she had the opportunity to build her skills and strengthen her connections to better speak up for all kids in Washington state. She learned how to get her voice heard in the media, share her values effectively with others, and better navigate the Washington State Legislature, she says.

Kids in the News, August 30, 2012

 

A Thurston County business leader expands on the future economic benefits of early learning investments, and a new state budget analysis finds that extending the two-thirds majority vote in the State Legislature would harm kids while hindering economic recovery. While high school graduation rates in the state have improved overall, students of color experience disproportionately higher dropout rates. This fall, federal nutrition guidelines will fortify school meals in King County. And a distinguished community leader and former school board member of Seattle schools comes out for kids as marriage equality in Washington hinges on the vote to approve Referendum 74.

Budgeting for the future = budgeting for children

 

Members of Congress are home for the summer, meeting with constituents, learning more about issues in their districts and preparing for the November election. They get back to D.C. in early September, just a few days after Washington’s school kids head to the classroom.

Protect Kids

Then, Congress will resume the debate about our national priorities – a debate that very directly concerns every Washington child who’s entering a classroom for the first time.

The first five years of life have a deep and durable influence on the rest – they’re the time when the fundamental architecture of the mind is built. Our public resources for the very young– from Early Head Start to Head Start to child care funds – affect children’s ability to spend their early years in enriching environments that serve them well in school and in life.

A wealth of data shows that these programs close the opportunity gap. Parents have seen that they work. Many lawmakers know that without them, we’ll neither lower spending nor create broadly shared prosperity. And yet they’re under threat.

Candidates should know: Baby-kissing’s not enough

 

The race is on for the future of Washington’s kids.

This month’s primary election has carved out the top two candidates for public office in districts across the state. Those who win will make policy decisions that affect your life, the life of a child you care about, and the lives of 1.5 million kids in Washington.

Now’s the time to tell candidates what’s at stake for kids. The Children’s Alliance has sent educational materials to every legislative candidate in the state to inform them about child hungercovering all kidsimproving access to dental care and early learning. Now we need your help.

Kids in the News, August 24, 2012

 

High-quality early learning can be a standard across the state with continued support, thanks to Washington’s Early Achievers rating system. The Health Care Authority’s planned partnership with community service providers means Apple Health for Kids can cover more uninsured children. In Walla Walla last week, Children’s Alliance presented Rep. Maureen Walsh with a Crayon Award for her commitment to early learning. Recently, we also named Rep. Luis Moscoso a legislative Champion for Children along with 11 other state lawmakers for their work to protect kids. In national news, advocates declare "No Child is Illegal," and celebrate a new law that allows young immigrants temporary protection from deportation.

Advocacy Camp puts tools in mentor's hands

 

Don Cameron

When Seattle resident Don Cameron attended Advocacy Camp in 2010 with his wife Hazel, the couple had already been staunch advocates for young people in their community for a long time.

Don and Hazel speak up for kids by preventing them from falling through the cracks into the prison pipeline – especially, says Don, in a nation that spends $60 billion a year incarcerating people yet does little to address appallingly low graduation rates. Both work with 4C Coalition, a Seattle-based mentorship program headed by Hazel that grew out of a community response to escalating youth violence in 1999.

“The kids we work with — 50 percent of whom are kids of color — come from low-income homes and a lot of their parents can’t advocate for them,” says Don.

Kids in the News, August 14, 2012

 

As the state’s Health Care Authority chief prepares to leave his position, covering all kids and Washington’s health insurance exchange will remain a priority. Sea Mar Community Health Centers will open a dental clinic in Monroe for 1,500 underserved children and adults. In national news, a study finds that poor access to dental care can lead to lower school performance. Another report shows how midlevel licensed dental practitioners can help extend dental care to 6.7 million kids through school-based programs.