Media Contact: Allie Wright (202.794.1823)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 23, 2016) — Save the Children Action Network President Mark Shriver issued the following statement today on the release of the Washington State House of Representatives 2016 budget.
“I would like to thank members of the Washington State House of Representatives for including vital investments in early learning in their newly-released 2016 budget, including increased funding for some providers serving children through Washington’s child care assistance program. However, new federal Child Care Development Block Grant funds should not be used to supplant state investments in early learning. We need to raise state investments in early learning because too many children do not have access to the early opportunities they need to succeed.
“For example, nearly 2,700 3- and 4-year-olds are on the waiting list for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), the state’s preschool program. Of these, 640 children are considered high priority by the Department of Early Learning because they are homeless, have been abused or neglected, are living in extreme poverty or have other major risk factors. A waiting list is also expected to begin this summer for Working Connections Child Care, Washington’s child care assistance program that serves working families striving for self-sufficiency.
“The benefits of quality early learning are clear: the opportunity gap is narrowed and stronger, healthier, more resilient families and communities form. Early learning also benefits Washington’s bottom line. Leading economists agree there is a return of $7 or more for every $1 invested in high-quality early learning programs.
“I urge the state Senate to invest more resources in high-quality early learning programs for Washington’s youngest residents because all kids deserve a strong start in life.”
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Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive.