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Washington Develops Birth-to-Three State Plan
Governance/Leadership, Public Engagement & Political Will Building, Regulation & Standards
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Department of Early Learning
In response to legislation that was passed in early 2010, Washington’s Department of Early Learning (DEL) and Thrive by Five Washington co-led an effort to develop a comprehensive birth-to-three state plan. Several early learning stakeholders were involved in the development of the plan, which outlines actionable policy recommendations to improve services and achieve measureable outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their families. The plan was submitted to the legislature in December 2010.
Many of the recommendations build on strategies identified in Washington’s Early Learning Plan, a ten-year plan to ensure school readiness for all children (prenatal to third grade) in the state. Like the Early Learning Plan, the birth-to-three plan organizes recommendations around seven core areas: children’s health and developmental wellbeing; home visiting; parents as their children’s first and most important teacher; family, friends, and neighbor care; high-quality professionals and environment; child care subsidies that promote parent choice and access to affordable care; and infrastructure, partnerships, and mobilization.
The plan offers both high level policy recommendations and concrete next steps that can be taken in the near term. Some of the more immediate recommendations include: supporting interagency coordination around home visitation; aligning Washington’s Medicaid payment policies with strategies to expand developmental screening among health care providers; providing information and supports to parents of infants and toddlers; and providing interdisciplinary consultation to licensed child care settings serving infants and toddlers.
Efforts are already underway in the state to move some of the proposals outlined in the plan forward. The Department of Health is leading work to establish a universal developmental screening system to identify and refer infants to early intervention and other needed services. DEL and Thrive by Five Washington are increasing the number of families receiving high quality home visiting services by leveraging public dollars with private funding in a new home visiting services account.