Media Contact: Allie Wright, [email protected], (515) 537-6547
Seattle, Wash. (May 24, 2017) – The latest special session in the Washington state legislature provides an opportunity to include funding for high-quality early childhood education programs in the state budget.
“I understand that this is a challenging year as lawmakers work to pass a balanced budget while meeting the state’s commitment to fund public education,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). “But lawmakers must remember that early learning is a critical component of the education continuum and invest in Washington state’s littlest learners.”
By age five, a child’s brain is almost completely developed – yet too many kids in Washington do not have access to high-quality preschool or child care. Many never catch up.
“I’m grateful to the legislature for its commitment to funding the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and urge lawmakers to include the House’s funding levels for the program in its final budget,” said Shriver. “This would expand access to this program to more than 2,000 kids and increase slot-rates for ECEAP educators. Additionally, I urge lawmakers to dramatically increase the state’s investment in Working Connections Child Care (WCCC).”
Neither the House nor Senate proposals adequately fund WCCC, which provides working parents with child care subsidies so parents can maintain employment while their children access high-quality early learning and care. The House budget invests more than the Senate budget in WCCC, with a $20 million increase. However, it’s estimated that a $40 million increase is needed. Without this investment, child care centers may be forced to stop accepting families who pay with WCCC subsidies, or to close their doors entirely.
“I understand the current fiscal situation in Washington,” said Shriver. “However, investments in early learning programs are vital to children, families and communities and provide a better future for us all.”
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. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.