- Supporting high-quality early learning opportunities. Expect legislators to introduce several bills relating to expanding early learning opportunities. Many policy ideas will stem from the Child Care Improvements for the Future Task Force recommendations issued in December. Others are next steps from House Bill 1723 from the 2013 session, which laid out a vision for full-day, high-quality early learning opportunities.
- There will be measures relating to supporting continuity of child care by ensuring families get 12-month subsidy authorization with fewer exceptions.
- Also expected are measures aiming to strengthen Early Achievers as our state's measure of quality in all early learning programs, and looking at how we can help programs use different public funding sources to support high-quality, full-day programming for children.
- Childhood obesity prevention. Gov. Jay Inslee has requested funding to support his Healthiest Next Generation initiative, which focuses on making sure state agencies are coordinating on policies and programs that support children and families in healthy development. The Department of Health will request a bill relating to this.
- Child safety. Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, has dropped a bill that would require the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to conduct reviews on any child fatality in a licensed child care or state-funded preschool program. (House Bill 2165)
- Background checks. DEL and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction are requesting legislation to streamline the background check process for child care employees who work in school district settings.
DEL has several presentations to legislative committees scheduled on topics including early intervention for infants and toddlers, home visiting, and parenting education. Find committee schedules on the Legislature's website at www.leg.wa.gov/legislature/pages/calendar.aspx.