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.
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.
This Mother’s Day, let’s give moms and other caregivers an important gift: access to high quality, affordable child care. While high quality child care is a critical component of supporting working parents and giving children a strong start in life, the cost of care is a barrier for many families.
Washington was ranked the sixth least affordable state for center-based infant care and the 10th least affordable state for center-based care for a four-year-old. Put into perspective, a minimum-wage worker in Washington would have to work full time from January to August just to pay for child care for one infant.
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.
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.
Parents, advocates and community leaders during this 2016 legislative session have advocated for greater investments in access to early learning for kids ages birth to 5 and their families. We’ve done it before: last year, the Early Start Act came with the largest investment in early learning in our state’s history. This historic achievement is improving early childhood education for more than 70,000 Washington children.
But the legislature is poised to undermine this progress.
Governor Inslee’s Executive Order re: State Blue Ribbon Commission on the Delivery of Services to Children and Families
Statement from Children’s Alliance, Feb. 18, 2016
Any structural change in the state of Washington’s service delivery for children should be guided by what’s best for kids. And, when not all kids are faring well, our attention and resources should prioritize the most vulnerable. Data about child outcomes in our state show wide disparities in economic security, educational, and health outcomes by family income and race and ethnicity.