Legislative Priorities

Wellspring Family Services supports legislation that advances the safety, well-being, and stability of individuals and families in King County and across Washington State.

On any given day in King County, there are nearly 10,000 people who are experiencing homelessness, including about 2,200 children, ages 0-17.  Statewide, the number of people experiencing homelessness tops 20,000. Families make up about half that number.

In addition, four out of every 10 children in Washington State live in families that stuggle to meet basic needs, putting their healthy development at risk.

Where you can learn more:

What does this all mean?  We have work to do.

Each year, Wellspring works with legislators, community stakeholders, donors, coalitions, and partner agencies to develop and advance policies that address the root causes of homelessness and instability for individuals and families.

 

2017 State Legislative Priorities

Priorities

  • Make the Early Achievers program work for all kids – Early Achievers is the program from Department of Early Learning (DEL) that rates childcare providers and provides coaching and training for providers to improve quality.  But the program does not explicitly provide for kids with emotional and behavioral problems or kids with developmental disabilities.  We support legislation that asks DEL to change both the rating and the coaching sections of early achievers to better support high needs kids and the providers who want to serve them.

 

  • Make homeless children categorically eligible for Working Connections Childcare – One of the Children’s Mental Health Taskforce Recommendations is to make homeless children categorically eligible for Working Connections Childcare regardless if their parents are eligible. Homeless children are in a perfect storm, since they are particularly in need of stable, high-quality care and yet usually not eligible for that care. Allowing homeless kids and kids involved in the child welfare system to access high-quality care will have lifelong positive impacts for those kids.

 

  • Creating a new Children’s, Youth and Families Agency – Restructuring state government and creating an agency with the needs of children, youth and family at the core of their work will allow for better intergenerational policies and programs. 

 
Support Agenda

  • Restore the TANF grant: TANF grants provide critical resources for families. A modest 7.5% increase to the TANF grant would restore cuts made in 2011during the Great Recession. This would raise today’s grant of $521 for a family of three by $41 to $562. Increases in inflation, rent, and general cost of living mean TANF families need this additional support. The restoration of the TANF grant is $29 million dollars a biennium

 

  • Document Recording Fee - Ensure people who are homeless are able to access emergency shelter and housing by protecting and increasing document recording fees dedicated to homelessness. Without legislative action, $70.5 million in homelessness funding will sunset and 22,559 people will become homeless

 

  • Source of Income Discrimination: Landlords should not be able to discriminate against some forms of income. People who rely on income from social security, disability, TANF or Section 8 vouchers should not be discriminated against. 

 

We encourage you to learn more about issues that undermine the safety, well-being and stability of individuals and families in King County and across Washington State. Advocacy is a powerful way to create positive change.