Virtual Have a Heart Day set for Feb 20
Interested in telling state lawmakers what matters most to you as they move through the 2023 session of the Washington State Legislature?
The Children’s Alliance invites supporters of its 2023 legislative agenda on behalf of Washington children and families to take part in its annual advocacy Have a Heart Day, set for February 20.
2023 even will be online
Although past events have included rallies of hundreds of children, parents and advocates on the state capitol steps in Olympia, this year’s Have a Heart Day will once again take place in the virtual sphere.
Among other things, the Children’s Alliance is pushing lawmakers to address long standing inequities faced by families in communities of color, issues which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Those who register to attend Have a Heart Day over Zoom will hear from Children’s Alliance policy staff before the event to learn more about the organization’s efforts in Olympia this year. Have a Heart Day will also include a “virtual rally” where participants will gather together online to raise a collective voice in support of kids.
To participate in 2023 Heart for Kids Day you need to register. Go to https://bit.ly/HHKD-2023.
Those interested in speaking directly with their lawmakers are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
During Children’s Alliance Have a Heart Day, participants will call on lawmaker to make kids a priority in policies and funding. The full 2023 Children’s Alliance legislative agenda includes asking lawmakers to:
1) Invest in early learning
- Invest in early learning by supporting fair wages and strengthening language access to retain and recruit highly skilled and multilingual early childhood professionals.
- Continue to implement and fund the Fair Start for Kids Act, the landmark 2021 legislation that dramatically expanded the state’s early learning resources.
2) Address the state’s child care crisis
- Cut red tape and administrative fees for dedicated early childhood professionals.
- Help more families receive affordable child care and early learning services by expanding eligibility for Working Connections Child Care.
3) Give every child a great start
- Invest in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), quality pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds growing up below or near the poverty line;
- Increase investments in child care mental health consultation and the complex needs grants for ECEAP and child care, so that more early childhood professionals have the resources they need to provide essential services.
- Support families from birth to the first few years of a child’s life by investing in and expanding home visiting.
- Ensure that Transitional Kindergarten programs in local schools are of high quality and integrated into the larger early learning system.
4) Create health equity for kids and families
- Address the Youth Behavioral Health Crisis. Provide a substantial rate increase for all providers of Apple Health for Kids behavioral health services, and take additional measures to invest in the behavioral health care workforce. Support efforts recommended by the state Health Care Authority’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Work Group to invest in behavioral health programs in early learning, schools, and beyond.
- Support and expand oral health access and care. Authorize dental therapists to meet urgent needs for community-based oral health care. Appoint a state Dental Director to lead for equity in oral health in Washington.
5) Protect and expand reproductive health care
- Cover abortion services and travel costs to Washington clinics for anyone who needs them due to abortion bans in their own states.
- Raise the eligibility limit for Apple Health pregnancy and postpartum services to eliminate the coverage gap.
- Invest in the development of new culturally appropriate birthing centers in historically underserved areas of Washington.
6) Invest in public and community health
- Provide free school breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of household income, and define the inclusion of healthy meals as part of basic education, the state’s paramount duty.
- Protect Community Water Fluoridation efforts, including requiring 90 days’ public notice when a Washington city is considering ending the practice of fluoridating tap water.
- Protect children, teens, and young adults from the pervasive marketing of e-cigarettes that fuels the youth vaping epidemic.
7) Improve health coverage for all
- Improve the quality and value of pediatric primary care for children and youth enrolled in Apple Health for Kids by raising reimbursement rates for developmental screenings.
- Provide adults insured under Apple Health with coverage for preventive health care services.
- Support efforts to improve access to care for immigrant communities, including through implementation of a new subsidized health care program available to people who have been ineligible for coverage due to their immigration status.
8) Invest in kids
- Close wasteful tax breaks and adopt new sources of revenue, building on the success of the 2021 capital gains excise tax.