Washington State House Democrats


Upcoming telephone town hall and news from Olympia

Join me for a telephone town hall on February 18th from 6:30-7:30 pm. Under the telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive automatically generated telephone calls to their homes in the 32nd Legislative District just before 6:30 p.m. To ask a question, all you have to do is press *3 on your phone at any time during the call, or maybe you just want to listen to the live conversation.  If you don’t get the call but want to participate, please dial the toll-free number 877-229-8493 and enter the code 18646 when prompted.

Host homes offer a chance to change the story for many homeless youth

Youth homelessness has reached crisis proportions in Washington state. There are over 35,000 homeless kids in our schools; many of them are unaccompanied teenagers, living on their own.

People in our communities have stepped up to offer these teens a place to live. These “host homes” as they are called, offer more than just shelter, they provide mentoring and a model for what a stable home life can look like. A recent article in the Seattle Times provides a look at how host homes can change the story for homeless youth.

In Washington, there are host home programs already operating that recruit and train families to provide temporary homes to youth in crisis. The host home programs are emerging in communities where there are no other options for homeless youth. The kids being served aren’t in foster care, they aren’t being abused or neglected at home, but are unable to stay at home due to serious conflicts. The parents of these children and youth must give permission for them to live in host homes.

Because the agencies recruiting and supporting these host homes are not licensed, their continued existence is threatened. A bill I have sponsored, House Bill 2440, exempts host homes from licensing.  The agencies must screen applicants, conduct background checks, assure that parents have given written permission and match children with appropriate homes. The bill passed out of the House this week and now goes to the Senate.

Host homes can be part of the solution to the youth homelessness crisis our state is currently facing.

Tools to help parents find childcare

If you have ever had to look for child care, you know that it can be a daunting task. How do you tell from a 15-minute visit whether a child care provider is going to take good care of your children and set them on the path to success? There is a new tool to help parents evaluate early learning programs.

Legislation passed in 2015 expanded Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system statewide. Many child care and early learning programs will now be rated on a scale of 1 to 5. The information will be available to parents. Child care providers will be able to take advantage of support from the Department of Early Learning to improve their rating and the quality of the care provided to the kids.

Early Achievers logo

For a short overview of Early Achievers, you can watch this video, or for more information or resources, please visit the Department of Early Learning.

If you are a parent, learn more about child care and preschool options here.