Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Parent Advisory Group gathers for April meeting

At the most recent Parent Advisory Group (PAG), the Department of Early Learning (DEL) sought input from its parent advisers about budget priorities and long-term early learning goals. The meeting was held April 4 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tukwila following the meeting of the Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) on April 3.

The day began with a discussion with Chris Stanley, DEL budget director. Stanley provided PAG members with an introduction to the budget process and sought input on DEL’s budget priorities. Parents praised DEL’s home visiting programs, Head Start and ECEAP programs, and parent engagement initiatives. They said they would like to see more funding to support behavioral health and provider training, for extended ECEAP services such as full-year, full-day, and extended-day services, and for subsidy rate increases, especially for infant and toddler care.

At lunch, Vickie Ybarra, director of the Office of Innovation, Alignment, and Accountability at the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), discussed the early learning goals of the new department. DCYF will focus on three areas of child outcomes: education, health, and resilience. Ybarra sought ideas on specific goals and the measurement of those goals. PAG members emphasized the need to focus on reducing trauma and measuring family stability. Ybarra said she would return to the group at a future date to continue the conversation about DCYF’s goals and measurements.

PAG members also discussed the ELAC meeting the day before and heard from one member on her experience with the negotiated rulemaking process. The parents also participated in a focus group as part of DEL’s ongoing Parent Needs Assessment.

PAG members participated in a team-building exercise and closing questions before ending their day. They will reconvene for their next meeting this summer.
The next meeting may include some new faces: PAG is currently recruiting new members from across the state.

“This is such an opportunity for parents to engage,” said longtime PAG member Natasha Fecteau, who is also a member of ELAC.

For more information on the open PAG positions, visit the DEL website at: https://del.wa.gov/parents-family/parent-advisory-group.

The Parent Advisory Group serves as a sounding board for decisions, ideas and questions that shape the future of early learning in Washington. PAG is made up of parents and family caregivers of children in communities across Washington state. To find out more about PAG, visit http://del.wa.gov/parents-family/parent-advisory-group.

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