Contacting your legislators in Olympia to share your expertise on child health matters is an easy, powerful way to advocate for our state’s children. Legislators rely on pediatricians to lend their voice to the public discourse on these issues. It takes just a few minutes of your time but can make a world of difference to the children we advocate for. You can find contact information for your state legislators at any time on this page.
We’ve created a brief guide to help you schedule a meeting with your legislators. You can download it here. You may also find this guide from AAP on meeting with decision makers helpful.
4 Weeks 4 Actions For Kids
Week 2: Fund Reach Out and Read
This week, we’re focusing on early learning. Specifically, we want the legislature to support an investment of $600,000 in Reach Out and Read to maintain this evidence-based early learning program for over 100,000 young children and their families across the state.
“As a pediatric health care provider, one of the most powerful tools I can pull out of my bag is not a piece of medical equipment, but a book. Investments in a child’s earliest months and years offer the best chance for all children to succeed in life, but not every child has the same access to those investments.“ Dr. Amanda Jacobsen, The Seattle Times
As pediatric health care providers we know how critical a child’s earliest years are to healthy development. But one-third of children in Washington arrive at kindergarten without the language and literacy skills they need. By reaching children early, through evidence-based early learning programs like Reach Out and Read, we can change that statistic!
Week 1: Fund Behavioral Health
We scored important victories by getting three children’s mental health bills passed this session and signed into law by the Governor. Now we need to ensure there is funding in the budget to implement two of them as well as funding to improve access.
HB 1713 and HB 1819 will improve children’s access to mental health care by increasing MCO accountability to ensure families can access mental health providers; adding a child psychiatry fellowship slot; paying for adolescent and maternal behavioral health screening; and reducing the paperwork burden on mental health care providers. The House budget also included an increase in funding to behavioral health centers which is critical to improving access to care for kids.