Rafton’s Round Up: December 2023

Sarah Rafton, MSW

As I reflect on 2023, I am bowled over by the contributions of WCAAP members, our community partners and staff toward our mission to champion the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and families. I send my heartfelt gratitude for your work and partnership, and for the privilege of helping you speak up for kids. Thank you.

As our health care community works to rebuild after the logistical, financial and emotional hardships of lockdown, you have continued to be bold and dogged in your pursuit of what children, teens and families need. Your attitude, involvement and vision are no small accomplishments in the face of beleaguered health care professionals, vacancies in core staff positions and doing all you can each day to support kids’ and families’ mounting mental health, chronic disease, and financial challenges.

Thanks to your focus and resilience, our vision remains bold, and our accomplishments grow. We continue to expect the best for Washington children and teens — breaking down barriers to preventive care and mental health care, supporting strong families from the very start of life, increasing access to healthy foods and safe communities, and fighting racism in the provision of pediatric care. We have made meaningful strides toward our aspirations for strong communities and the highest quality, family-centered pediatric care.

As 2023 draws to a close, please join with us in a sense of pride, accomplishment and gratitude for the nearly 50 pediatric Community Health Workers supporting families in primary care, the rapid help Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens can provide, 10 more clinics with behavioral health integration for kids, the tens of thousands of children newly receiving free meals at school, an assault weapons ban, and the more than 200 health care providers we have reached with equity education. Thank you for all you did this year to make Washington a better place for children, teens and families.