Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

We're in the News: (Columbian) Early Childhood Aid is on the Budget's Brink

The state-funded program known as ECEAP wraps children in a nurturing safety net of preschool education, nutritious meals, medical and dental referrals, social services and more.

It serves the poorest of Washington's working poor: families with incomes below 110 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,320 a year for a family of four) and their preschool children, including 378 in Clark County.

Nearly half of all families it serves statewide this year have household

incomes of less than $15,000, and 40 percent have no medical insurance.

But advocates for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program are sounding the alarm that the program may be on the chopping block as state budget-writers look for discretionary programs they can cut to whittle a budget deficit that could grow to nearly $9 billion by mid-2011.

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