Thank you for recognizing the importance of early learning and social safety nets for working families in your proposed budgets.
However, two years into this pandemic and corresponding economic hardship, we know folks in Washington are hurting and our legislators need to do even more to lift our families.
For this reason, we urge you to invest in the following in your final budget:
- funding for play and learn groups
- infant and early childhood mental health consultation
- new ECEAP slots
- investment for ECEAP complex needs fund
- funding to ensure the longevity of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program
- fully funding SB 5793 – reimbursements for people with lived experiences who serve on legislative policy workgroups
We know that greater investments for the entire early learning and child care ecosystem would support working families. We know community members who are unable to return to work due to the continually rising cost of child care and are unable to qualify for subsidized child care. We also know that it is harder for child care centers to stay open as operating costs rise.
Additionally, we need to fully fund our schools, ensure quality healthcare – including mental health – for anyone who needs it, and provide stability for our families.
Finally, the Paid Family and Medical Leave has proven to be an important lifeline for families across the state – a program that over 200,000 families have been able to utilize during the last two years. We urge you to ensure that this program continues to meet the needs of working families while the interim work to ensure its stability moves forward.
All these investments are critical for Washington’s families. Please ensure that our state’s budget fully meets the needs of families during this challenging time.
Thank you for your work on behalf of Washington’s families.