At WithinReach, we believe that healthy, resilient families make strong communities.
2018 Legislative Priorities
At WithinReach, we believe that healthy, resilient families make strong communities. For over 27 years, we have worked to identify and resolve the most pressing concerns facing vulnerable children and families in our State. Driven to break down barriers that prevent families from living healthy lives, WithinReach advocates for public policy and budget matters that directly advance our mission and vision. We strive to connect families to the resources they need to be healthy and safe, and work with coalitions and partner organizations to advocate for, educate about, and support the following pressing legislative concerns.
PROTECT THE APPLE HEALTH FOR KIDS HOTLINE & ACCESS TO HEALTH COVERAGE
Apple Health for Kids streamlines applications for children’s free or low-cost health insurance. The Apple Health for Kids Hotline is a vital tool for families that provides the assistance they need when applying for coverage for their children. We support ongoing funding for the Apple Health for Kids Hotline.
In addition, efforts at the state and federal levels in recent years have led to Washington reducing our uninsured rate down to 5.8%. As of March 2017, over 1.7 million Washington residents have health coverage through our health Washington Healthplanfinder. We oppose efforts to roll back existing health coverage and support finding solutions that ensure all Washingtonians have access to health care.
INVESTING IN CHILDREN’S HEALTH, WELLNESS AND DEVELOPMENT
Many kids face barriers that hinder their health, development, and learning opportunities. In 2017, the legislature passed enabling legislation to establish a state agency that is focused not only on addressing issues as they arise, but also on prevention and breaking down siloes that make it difficult for families to better access services that will help children thrive. We support the ongoing process of creating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families and ensuring there is adequate funding to have a strong focus on prevention and improved outcomes for children.
Behavioral and mental health disorders affect up to one in five children and adolescents in a given year, yet 80% of these kids do not receive the care they need. This is often due to the fact that it can be very difficult for families and providers to find and access mental health services. We support the WA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric’s effort to establish a single phone line to provide families with children on Apple Health real-time support that can help them find a mental health provider who is able to serve them.
IMPROVING IMMUNIZATION RATES
Immunizations save lives and are among the most effective ways to protect everyone from serious, preventable illnesses –especially those too young to be vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems. Despite their effectiveness, Washington state has poor immunization rates by several different measures. We support finding ways to improve immunization rates in Washington, including funding new and innovative ways to better communicate with parents and providers, and we oppose efforts that would weaken existing immunization law.
BREAKFAST AFTER THE BELL
Far too many kids are missing breakfast, and without that critical meal they have a decreased chance to succeed in school. Washington currently ranks 45th out of 50 states in participation in school breakfast. In schools where breakfast is served after the bell as part of the school day, breakfast participation has dramatically increased. We advocate for school breakfast to be served after the start of the school day in high needs schools and that time be allowed to count as instructional time as appropriate.