Children's Alliance looking out for kids in Olympia battles | Seattle Times | 01-13-2012
Alliance staff spent this past summer gathering input from partner organizations, parents and others so that it could present a unified agenda. They want the Legislature to fight childhood hunger, invest in early learning, strengthen Apple Health for Kids, expand access to dental care and stop cuts and raise revenue. Gould intends to remind legislators of the many studies that show children learn better when they are well fed and healthy.
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.
Note: Yesterday Children’s Alliance staff sent the following letter to Congress members representing Washington state.
Dear Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation,
At the Children’s Alliance, we believe policies and programs at every level of government should work for kids. We also believe in a fair economy and sound investments. The best way to ensure we remain a strong nation ready to take on tomorrow's challenges is by investing in our children today.
We have the ingenuity and resources in this country to ensure all kids get a fair chance. Yet, continued cuts to smart investments threaten our future. Austerity measures disproportionately impact children color – the fastest growing population in the country – thus stifling our economic potential.
The dust stirred up by Election 2012 is starting to settle. We know who will be in the White House and representing Washington State in the 113th Congress.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Members of the 112th Congress still have some work to do.
Last week, Children’s Alliance joined family advocates to defend marriage equality and urge voters to APPROVE Referendum 74 and spoke up for families disproportionately hurt by current marijuana enforcement policy in support of Initiative 502. A Seattle legislator says NO on Initiative 1185 because extending the supermajority rule would rob Washington’s children of a basic education. In national news, former U.S. Senator George McGovern passes on at age 90, leaving a legacy of bipartisanship to feed hungry children.
A longtime dentist and health leader says it's time Washington adds a new midlevel provider to extend care and clinic hours to the chronically underserved. In other news, a new report confirms that current marijuana enforcement is costly and disproportionately hurts communities of color. Business leaders in Clark County hail high-quality early learning as a smart investment with high returns. Finally, the Tri-City Herald endorses Referendum 74 to protect love and equality for all of Washington’s families.
Has this ever happened to you?
You check Facebook. There is a video of a candidate saying something you found ridiculous. After watching the video, you frantically call the cat into the room and start ranting.
Now everybody knows about your outrage – except for the candidate who caused it.
Early learning advocates recognize lawmakers in Shelton and Anacortes for prioritizing early learning, and one Monroe resident says Head Start is key in building a strong foundation for success. In other state news, The Seattle Times endorses Initiative 502 to boost marijuana regulation and state revenue, one legislator says Initiative 1185 threatens a balanced approach to the state budget, and education advocates challenge the legislature’s supermajority vote on taxes in Supreme Court. As health care reform advances in Washington, candidates for Governor weigh in on whether extending health coverage helps or hurts our state.
One education advocate asserts that school districts can do more for academic success by strengthening early learning. The Children’s Alliance endorses Initiative 502 to lessen the inequitable impact of marijuana enforcement policy on families, the Seattle Times asks voters to approve Referendum 74 in support of family values and The News Tribune calls Initiative 1185 “inherently democratic.” In other news, a nurse says extending Medicaid to more Washingtonians will save state dollars. And in national news, one advocate speaks up for families that would be hit hard by deep cuts to food stamps proposed in the House Farm Bill.
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.