by René Murry
What’s happening in King County government that impacts youth development? Today’s blog hopes to give you some information about the latest updates on funding streams and opportunities to strengthen supports for our young people.
Let’s start with the update on the Puget Sound Taxpayer’s Accountability Account or PSTAA. The implementation plan has been moved from the Executive’s office to the King County council and was heard at the Committee of the Whole or the COW on July 28th. Jessica Werner, our Executive Director, testified for YDEKC as I was on vacation! Please review the implementation plan here. Next steps will include any amendments and action at the full King County Council, likely after their August recess, so stay tuned for late August/early September updates.
The PSTAA implementation plan includes funds that support members of the Racial Equity Coalition (which includes a number of YDEKC members) coordinated at United Way of King County. These POC-led organizations are collectively working on a model called Love and Liberation, strengthening cultural identity development for the youth they serve. Another significant pot of funds will go to King County promise that invests in bringing youth along to post-secondary education.
A group of advocates have been meeting routinely to continue to encourage the Council to move the implementation plan forward and to prepare to defend the funds at the state level if required. We are in a historic time and budgets are extremely constrained. We will need to continue to work to protect these investments for the foreseeable future. The PSTAA funds need to be reallocated by the legislature every two years.
Next up is the Best Starts for Kids Levy, and this essential funding stream that supports many YDEKC members. The current levy is ending in 2021 and the plans are moving forward for what to include in the 2021 renewal, if the “buckets” of funds will change and if it is a straight renewal (vote to the people) or if the levy will be increased. YDEKC will be working with the Executive’s office and meeting with KC Councilmembers to continue to encourage investment in the 5-24 year old age group and we support funds for youth employment and services for opportunity youth ages 16-24. In all groups we will emphasize the needs to focus on children and families of color in order to address racial inequities, and ensure all of our young people can thrive.
To hear more about both PSTAA and Best Starts for Kids, you can check out our Advocacy Hot Topics webinar from June, where Sheila Capestany (King County Director of the Children, Youth and Young Adults Division) shared with us what’s coming up in the next few months with planning for these funding streams.
Finally, there is a way that any YDEKC member can get involved in their local funding at the city level. King County Alliance for Human Services (KCAHS) is coordinating geographic subgroups for programs to connect with other non-profits in order to work on a plan to encourage each city council to invest more in Human services. Please contact Pam; she can get you connected to the right group to join! The KCAHS meets monthly on Tuesday afternoons; several YDEKC members attend, and I attend for our coalition. It may seem daunting to join a group about advocating for city funds in this difficult climate, but perhaps it is a crucial time to do so.
Thank you for all of the service and caring you are giving to each other and to our children and families.
If you have any questions about this information, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
René Murry, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy