Did you attend an advocacy event? Make a call? Write an email? Share a post about an issue important to children and youth?
If the answer is yes, then YOU were a part of one of the most historic legislative sessions for children, youth, and families in decades!
The 2021 legislative session, which ended April 25, passed historic measures for youth development. These measures range from the creation of the Fair Start for Kids Act (HB 1213), which expands childcare and early childhood development programs; to HB 1225, which addresses expanding school-based health centers (SBHC) by establishing the SBHC program office within the Department of Health; to our priority bill in Youth Development, HB 1208, which modifies the Learning Assistance Program.
No Child Left Inside grants were increased from $1.5m to $4.5m, mentoring funds were also increased, and a new Youth Development Work Group was created, which will be facilitated by DCYF, OSPI, and other stakeholders.
This new Work Group is a huge win, which will result in recommendations for a state agency home as well as funding stream recommendations for the youth development field. This is similar to a bill YDEKC promoted in the 2019 Legislative Session.
There were gains in services and supports for youth in foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, and youth engaged with juvenile justice. Treehouse, a YDEKC member, received an additional $4,890,000 for Graduation Success, and all of Treehouse’s current state funding for Educational Advocacy and Driver’s Assistance was renewed. The Anchor Communities Initiative was also renewed, which serves homeless youth and promotes access to attorneys for youth in foster care.
Another success was the passing of SB 5034, a bill that modernizes and updates nonprofit regulations across the state, which had not been done in over 50 years! Thank you to our partner, Washington Nonprofits, for their advocacy on this bill.
YDEKC also partners with the Children’s Welfare Coalition (CWAC), Washington Coalition for Homeless Youth Advocacy (WACHYA), the Justice for Girls Coalition, and the Youth Development Strategy Table (YDST) in our advocacy efforts. Strides were made in all areas in this historic session. To take a closer look, check out these legislative bill trackers:
- WACHYA Legislative Bill Tracker
- Youth and Young Adult (YYA) Homelessness Legislative Budget Chart 2021
- YDST Bill sheet: What was funded
- Legislative Budget Proposals
None of this could have happened without the incredible hard work of our elected officials. Representative Tana Senn, Rep. Lisa Callan, and Senator Claire Wilson were pivotal in the work to advance youth development in Washington state. Please take a moment to thank them!
Thank our State Representative Tana Senn
Thank our State Representative Lisa Callan
Thank our State Senator Claire Wilson
This is a session to celebrate!
A big YDEKC THANKS to all members that stepped up to make it happen.
And now… NEXT UP!
Let us join together to support county-level funding: the Best Starts for Kids Levy 2.0!
Last month, the King County Council unanimously voted to send the expiring Best Starts for Kids levy to the ballot this August, and King County voters will decide on its extension and expansion. We are excited to announce our first annual King County Youth Development Advocacy Day on June 3, and we hope you can join us and help “GET OUT THE VOTE” for the BSK 2.0 Renewal on the August 3 ballot!
With commitment and gratitude,
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Youth Development Executives of King County