At WithinReach, we believe that healthy, resilient families make strong communities.
2016 Legislative Priorities
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.
Our 2016 legislative priorities are as follows:
Immunization Validation Tool and School Module
WA students are not adequately protected against diseases that vaccines prevent according to yearly immunization data reported by schools. While students are required by law to comply with school immunization requirements in order to attend school, the current process for determining school immunization compliance involves multiple handoffs of detailed immunization data. This makes it difficult for providers, schools, and parents to determine if a student is in compliance. We support funding for the Department of Health to develop an Immunization Validation Tool and School Module within the Immunization Information System in order to make reporting more efficient and accurate.
Universal Developmental Screening for all Children
The Bright Futures guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend universal screening of children for autism and development conditions. Research indicates that fewer than half of children with developmental delays are identified before starting school, by which time significant delays may have occurred and opportunities for treatment may have been missed. We support protecting funding for universal screening for all children, including those on Washington Apple Health as secured through the recent passage of SB 5317.
Protect Apple Health for Kids Hotline Funding
Apple Health for Kids streamlines applications for children’s free or low-cost health insurance. The Hotline for Apple Health for Kids 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.
Breakfast After The Bell
Not all kids start the school day ready to learn. Far too many are missing breakfast, and without that critical meal, have a decreased chance to succeed in school. Washington state currently ranks 41st out of 50 states in participation in school breakfast, with just 33% of eligible children accessing the program. 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 the time be allowed to count as instructional time as appropriate.
Healthiest Next Generation Funding
The Governor’s Healthiest Next Generation Initiative aims to help our children to maintain a healthy weight, enjoy active lives and eat well by focusing on creating breastfeeding friendly communities, and healthy early learning and school environments. We support funding for the implementation of the Healthiest Next Generation recommendations and plan.