Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Young Children

ELAA 2019 Legislative Agenda

The Early Learning Action Alliance looks forward to working with state policymakers to achieve the following policies and funding in the 2019 Legislative Session. These priorities will improve child outcomes and move Washington closer to a state where every young child has equitable access to the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

WASHINGTON RANKS AS A TOP STATE FOR BABIES

Washington ranks as a top state for babies, according to a report released today by early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE and children’s research organization Child Trends. The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 is a first-of-its-kind resource that looks holistically at the well-being of America’s babies, providing a national snapshot and comparisons across states. The Yearbook compiles nearly 60 indicators—specifically for children ages 0 to 3—to measure progress across three policy areas: Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences.

Federal money for child care helps, but much more is needed

For healthy development, it’s imperative that babies and toddlers have the strongest learning experiences possible through high-quality early opportunities. Washington state policymakers, child care providers, and advocates have worked diligently on improving child care quality in Washington to give kids a strong start.

Support Washington’s babies and young parents

A new KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation details hurdles that young parents face to support their children. These barriers threaten both the still-developing young adult parents and their young children, setting off a chain of diminished opportunities for two generations.

What babies, toddlers and new parents need to thrive

As we advocate for the developmental needs of young children, Children’s Alliance has long understood that learning begins at birth. Every interaction, whether it’s with a parent, grandparent, auntie, babysitter or licensed child care professional, is an occasion to build young minds and foster healthy connections.

Our Four Priorities for a Department of Children, Youth and Families

The proposal to consolidate programs and services into a Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) in Washington State is a once in a generation opportunity to structure government for positive outcomes for children, youth, and families.

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Invest in Early Learning in 2015

High quality early learning is a targeted investment that reaps huge returns: proven outcomes in school and in life. Every child deserves the opportunity for a great start. Pass the Early Start Act with culturally relevant care provisions and funding needed to close the opportunity gap.

The bipartisan Early Start Act (HB 1491/SB 5452)

Sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle) and Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), the Early Start Act aims to expand access to high quality early learning, particularly for children furthest from opportunity.

Innovative National Early Learning Plan Means More Opportunities for Washington State


Brains are like buildings – they start with a foundation. Birth through age 5 is a crucial time to give children the kinds of enriching experiences and environments they need to build a foundation for success – both in school and in life. But too many of our youngest learners still don’t have access to high quality early childhood education. They are missing out on opportunities that will help them thrive, and this hurts all of us.

Expand Access to High-Quality Early Learning

High-quality early learning lays a foundation for a strong future. But too many young children still don’t get a chance to build the fundamental brain architecture that allows them to thrive in school and in life. Washington policymakers should:

Expand ECEAP by 1,500 children in the upcoming
biennium and work toward the legislature’s commitment
of full implementation by 2018

Make a simultaneous investment in targeted, voluntary,
comprehensive programs for infants and toddlers at
greatest risk of academic failure.

Expand Access to High-Quality Child Care Pass HB 1671/SB 5595

Science tells us that, long before they reach kindergarten, children lay down the mental foundation for future learning. When we fail to surround young children with quality opportunities to build that foundation, it’s much harder for them to catch up later. Child care providers want the best for children in their care, but they need resources to improve and maintain quality. Investments now can lead to benefits for children, families, and society in the future. Chart a path for increasing access to high-quality care that includes: