The 2015 legislative session was an exciting one. With the passage of the Early Start Act, we invested high-quality care and made great strides toward our ultimate goal of getting every child ready for kindergarten and eliminating the opportunity gap.
We have made progress, but our work is far from done. In a way, passing the Early Start Act is just a starting point. Implementing the bill is the next step. Thrive is upping our commitment to making sure that all kids have access to quality early learning. This legislative session will be a short one — just 60 days, but we all still need to make our voices heard.
Thrive’s priorities during the 2016 legislative session will be:
- Implement Early Start Act to increase access to quality child care
With the passing of the Early Start Act last session, we now need to ensure it is implemented in a way that benefits children and families. As the process rolls out, Thrive will help monitor and advocate to secure strong outcomes.
- Support ECEAP expansion to reach full entitlement by fall 2020
The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is a powerful, high-quality program for preparing 3- and 4-year-olds for school. But, Washington trails most others states in making our state-funded preschool program accessible. This year, ECEAP serves 11,700 children. The goal is full entitlement for all eligible children – about 23,000 – by 2020.
- Build understanding and support to expand Home Visiting services
Home visiting is repeatedly proven to strengthen families and give children the best start possible by improving maternal and child health, family self-sufficiency and school readiness, but only a fraction of the children and families living in some of our state’s most vulnerable communities can access these programs. Thrive and our partners want to significantly expand, strengthen and sustain home visiting programs statewide.
Download our 2016 Advocacy Agenda
For more information about how to advocate for issues you care about, check out the resources in our Advocacy Toolkit.