Rep. Derek Kilmer said the House Appropriations Committee has advanced new federal funding for early childhood and family support in Grays Harbor.
In a statement, Rep. Kilmer said the funding supports Save the Children’s Early Childhood and Family Support Project to accelerate educational success for the most marginalized children in rural Washington.
With the funding, it would provide funds for early childhood home-visiting programs, parent engagement workshops, building home libraries to help create a culture of literacy, and mobile outreach providing meals nutrients to families in need.
“As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that families in our region have the resources they need to help their children succeed,” Rep. Kilmer said. “That’s why I’m thrilled the House Appropriations Committee has advanced new federal funding to support critical programs in Grays Harbor County that will help rural and underfunded areas with nutrition assistance, early childhood education and community and parental involvement. This is a big problem for families in our area. I will continue to work to ensure that this funding is enshrined in law.
“There is no better investment we can make in our future than an investment that benefits our children: quality early childhood education. Representative Derek Kilmer has shown he greatly appreciates and understands the importance of early learning, and Save the Children is grateful to Congressman and his team for pursuing federal funding that will support our efforts to accelerate the educational achievement of historically underresourced rural communities in Washington. said Amee Barlet, director of programs for Save the Children in Washington. “This funding will allow Save the Children to expand our home visiting and kindergarten readiness programs for the state’s youngest learners, while helping to build home libraries for families with little or no access. to books. It will also help provide holistic supports that build a culture of early learning. This includes parent engagement workshops honoring the traditions of tribal communities and, in partnership with the Moore Wright Group, providing nutritious meals to families who need them most. Children need nutritious food to thrive and to be hungry for knowledge.
Save the Children’s service area in Washington’s Sixth Congressional District includes villages and towns that are on the Quinault Reservation and neighboring tribes such as the Hoh Tribe in Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties.
Save the Children seeks to scale up proven programs focused on improving early childhood development and learning outcomes, as well as providing nutritional support to families through the distribution of healthy meals.
Specifically, this request would support the operating costs of the Save the Children Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) program, which has been offered in partnership with the Lake Quinault School District for over a decade.
Kilmer says the ESSS aims to provide high-quality early childhood development services focused on kindergarten readiness skills for children ages 0-5 and their families. In Washington, SSSA participants are at high risk of not meeting kindergarten readiness standards, but before COVID, 92% of 3-year-olds and 86% of 5-year-olds participating in SSSA scored within the normal range for vocabulary acquisition. on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, a key indicator of school readiness. The ESSS also aims to strengthen the role of caregivers as advocates for community-wide efforts that support school readiness and create strong bonds between parents and the schools their children will attend.
Save the Children will also partner with tribal leaders and community facilitators to improve the Positive Indian Parenting (PIP) Framework, a parenting studies program developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, by increasing the number of trained facilitators and opportunities for their regular collaboration and reflection. , featuring quality guest speakers and providing hands-on, project-based learning (e.g., making cribs, storytelling kits, and traditional rattles). To encourage participation in a community setting, Save the Children will provide a meal at each PIP session and at the end families will receive a set of culturally relevant children’s books.
In addition, the community project funding request will support a sub-grant to the Moore Wright Group (TMWG) to implement an expanded food security program.
“Food insecurity beyond the first 1,000 days continues to interrupt a child’s ability to thrive. Save the Children found that hunger and food insecurity further undermined learning when schools closed during the pandemic. Food-insecure children who had received free or reduced-price meals at school lost consistent access to breakfast and lunch. Through Save the Children’s partnership with TMWG, an OSPI approved partner, a program was implemented to deliver meals to children and distribute needed food and non-food items in 21 Washington counties. Of the 218,510 children affected in 2021, 89% were in western Washington. Through this partnership and nutrition grants to school districts, Save the Children has led the collective effort to deliver more than 14.5 million meals to children in Washington since the pandemic began. However, they found that despite the reopening of schools, there remain a large number of backlog needs, particularly for nutritious hot meals that could be delivered to families with limited transportation. The proposed community funding project would help fill this gap with a renovated kitchen and warehouse and mobile meal delivery capacity to reach over 3,000 children per month.
Rep. Kilmer led efforts to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s community project funding process.