192 Homeless Children on ECEAP Waitlist
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2016
Contact: Joel Ryan, (253) 486-9077
Latest Data Finds 192 Homeless Children on ECEAP Wait List;
WSA Calls on Lawmakers to include $2 million
In State Budget as Part of Emergency Homeless Package
House and Senate negotiators have begun hammering out a final budget agreement. And while both the House and Senate have put additional funds in their budgets to address the homeless crisis, neither budget provides any new dollars for ECEAP which serves more than 1200 homeless children and unfortunately has a long waiting list of homeless three and four year olds needing help.
Just last week the Department of Early Learning reported that there are 192 homeless children on the wait list for ECEAP. Our Association calculates that it would cost a modest $2 million to serve these children in ECEAP this fall. ECEAP’s blend of child development and family support is uniquely suited to support homeless families with young children. ECEAP provides children with a high quality classroom experience, while it’s family support staff work with parents to find stable housing and needed supports by linking them up with social service agencies, mental health counseling, and emergency housing assistance. Any comprehensive strategy to alleviate homelessness must include funding to support our youngest victims.
Joel Ryan, Executive Director, WSA, said the following
I am thankful for the incredible work being done this session by both parties to address homelessness despite the current budget restraints. But we believe that in order to effectively combat homelessness we can’t simply wait to address the issue when children arrive in school or when they are teenagers. The quicker we can intervene the better. We are asking lawmakers to find $2 million so that the 192 homeless children on the wait list for ECEAP can get the help they need to be ready for kindergarten. The research is clear that when children arrive at kindergarten not prepared they are more likely to need remedial assistance, stay back in school, end up in special education, and get arrested and even serve time in prison. I urge everyone who cares about helping children and working to alleviate homelessness to call their lawmakers through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to find the $2 million to make sure our littlest homeless children get the help they need.