Rafton’s Round-Up: May 2023

Sarah Rafton, MSW
WCAAP Executive Director

Jennifer Donahue has encouraged me to contribute a monthly article to Developments about my perspectives of our work at WCAAP and observations of your needs, kids’ needs, and our state context. Today is my first edition of Rafton’s Round Up to share with you thoughts about WCAAP and our opportunities to improve child and teen health in our state, from my vantage point.

If you are reading this, you are an engaged chapter member, and have likely caught the bug that is child-advocacy in Washington State. We recently held an event to honor Representative Paul Harris with the second annual David Frockt Child Advocate Award for his service and exemplary leadership for the well-being of children, teens and families. This event was truly the highlight of my work with you in 2022 and 2023 and captures what it is I love and so deeply value about our great state.

Many of you have heard me share that we can get it done in Washington State! Our legislative process is not broken, like it sadly is so often in the other Washington. Our accomplishments for kids and families over the past several years are many. Our state policy makers are thoughtful and engaged, and willing to make changes and investments to improve public health, safety and child, teen and family well-being.

When I think back on bills we have passed, our track record is nearly (not quite) 100% bipartisan for child and family health. We have been able to accomplish this for a few key reasons. You, pediatric health care providers, have an incredible reputation in the Capitol. You are known for your presence on child health issues and your expertise as scientists and caregivers. A close professional friend of mine once said, “when Sarah walks in the room [in Olympia] she has a halo over her head, unlike most medical organizations.” This is true because of your credibility, care and dedication as pediatric health care providers and child advocates. Thank you for making my work and Amber’s work so easy!

Secondly, we have accomplished so much for kids and families over these years because our legislators are often curious learners and care about the families of our state. When we can share with them the gaps you face caring for kids, they want to help and roll up their sleeves to make changes and investments. I am inspired by and grateful for our Washington State legislators and look forward to many more wins for kids in the years ahead.