WSA Newsletter 4/5/21 (pdf)

This week’s topics:

  • Take Action in 20 seconds – Thank lawmakers for ECEAP investments!
  • Head Start Advocacy – Congressional Hill Visit 2021 & FY2022 asks
  • Racial Equity Classroom & Parenting
  • Resources & Links
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Thank Your Lawmakers for Historic Investments in Early Learning!

Wow, what a week! Lawmakers in both the House and Senate passed historic investments in Early Learning programs in their proposed budgets (summarized in detail by our friends at StartEarly). The budgets are still different from each other and details will be worked out in the next few weeks, but we’re going into that negotiation in a very strong position. Among the things that are funded in at least one budget:
  • 10% rate increase for ECEAP (Senate – House has 7%)
  • 1750 new slots in the next 2 years (Senate – House has 750)
  • Complex Needs Fund for ECEAP and Child Care
  • Early ECEAP expansion for children 0-3
  • Working Connections eligibility for all AA full time students meeting income requirements (including students getting AA-transfer degrees)
  • Funding for facilities expansion, renovation, repair and COVID improvements
  • Eligibility for Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) Subsidy expanded to 60% of State Median Income (about 230% of federal poverty level)
  • WCCC copays reduced for parents and rates increased for providers
  • And much, much more!
Please take 20 seconds to thank your lawmakers for this AMAZING investment!

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Head Start Advocacy – Congressional Hill Visits 2021

We’re getting good at these Virtual Hill Visits! This year since we couldn’t be in Washington DC we collected Head Start and Early Head Start advocates from all around the state to Zoom into their lawmakers’ offices.Parents and directors from allover the state attended, including more than 15 different Head Start and ECEAP programs!

Parents were able to tell the story of how Head Start and Early Head Start had supported them through their most difficult times, including helping them look for jobs, supporting them while they were getting their own education, and helping them help their own children thrive. Children and families who speak second languages receive lots of supports to overcome the language barrier.

Many programs temporarily switched to virtual services during the pandemic,they have provided technology access. They also have provided families mental health supports, cleaning supplies, learning packages, diapers, etc. Programs are operating virtual and in-person services, and now most programs are offering a hybrid model. HS programs would use the new funding for mental health supports, staff training/coaching, and provide more supplies for families.

What are we asking for next year?

In Fiscal Year 2022, the National Head Start Association recommends addressing the following needs:

  • Address Childhood Trauma – HS is shown to have dramatic long-term costsavings
  • Stabilize the Workforce through investing in the cost of living adjustment
  • Extend Duration to align with K-12 schedule and fully support working parents

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Racial Equity Classroom & Parenting

Children are never too young to have meaningful conversations around race and empathy. We encourage teachers and families to check out Sesame Street’s racial justice resource page to find videos, activities, and readings to do with your child.

NHSA has compiled a list of relevant resources to start a conversation on equity and diversity in your classroom.

Parents and caregivers play a big role in helping toddlers develop a positive self-identity. Zero To Three has a few tips and book recommendations to help.

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You’ve shared lots of interesting and useful things with us this week!
The National Head Start Association has a helpful vaccination toolkit, including ideas for addressing vaccine hesitancy, how to make a PSA, etc.
Interesting article about the future of child care in the Tri-Cities, as the pandemic has led to many closures.
Stressed out? Try not to yell. Parents shouting at kids can affect brain development. (Yahoo)
Somewhat reassuring interview about risk for schoolkids. “Your 9-year-old is already basically a vaccinated adult.” (Slate)
Did that make you feel better? This will make you feel worse – COVID cases tied to schools and child care are increasing. (Seattle P-I)
Thoughtful editorial about how we can rethink education after the pandemic. (Crosscut)
For the last few years we’ve doing a lot of advocacy in partnership with tribes to expand ECEAP access to more American Indian children. Listen to our board member Sheryl Fryberg, testify for Fair Start for Kids, which will provide automatic eligibility for most tribal children.