Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Washington State is on the brink of losing the state children's trust fund, formally called the Council for Children & Families. I'm asking your help in contacting the key legislators listed below TODAY - or by noon Wednesday, March 10th at the very latest - today would be better. The trust fund supports vital strategies that strengthen families and prevent child abuse before it occurs, including home visiting programs and the well-received "Speak Up When You’re Down” Post Partum Depression Awareness Campaign.
We all know the state's economy is in trouble. However, the loss of the trust fund will not result in substantial cost savings. The home visiting funds will be moved to the Department of Early Learning and most of the remaining funds will be moved to the state child welfare department. We have seen in other states that such a move inevitably results in a decreased focus on preventing abuse before it occurs as the primary mission of that agency is child protection after abuse or neglect occurs. Such a move also significantly reduces the capacity to build broad non-governmental coalitions in most cases.
Currently the House budget does not include any funding for the Council for Children and Families and essentially terminates the agency. The Senate budget includes some funding but with significant reductions. The budget is being reconciled now and there is still time to ensure that the final budget includes the CCF - but only if we act now.
Specifically I am asking the following:
Task #1: Calling the Legislative Hotline
Please call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and make the following statement:
"Please restore funding to the Council for Children and Families which includes the “Speak Up When You’re Down” Post Partum Depression Awareness Campaign in the final state budget."
Task #2: Email Key Representatives:
Please email the following Representatives with the sample messages below. Please add 1-2 sentences as to why this is an important priority for you - the importance of supporting children and families in these tough economic times, etc. It is perfectly fine to use the exact same message in each email to each legislator. Just make sure that you change the name each time you send it to the next email address! Here is the sample message:
Please restore funding to the Council for Children and Families which includes the “Speak Up When You’re Down” Post Partum Depression Awareness Campaign in the final state budget.
Thank you for all of your hard work.
Your full name
Please send your emails for Representatives to:
Representative Mary Helen Roberts: Roberts.firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Eric Pettigrew: Pettigrew.email@example.com
Representative Kelli Linville: Linville.firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Mark Ericks: email@example.com
Task #3: Email Key Senators:
Sample Message for Senators:
Dear Senator _____________________
Thank you for including funding in the Senate Budget for the Council for Children & Families which includes the "Speak Up When You're Down" Post Partum Depression Campaign. Please ensure that these vital services are FULLY funded in the final budget.
Thank you for all of your hard work.
Please send your emails for Senators to:
Senator Lisa Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Debbie Regala: email@example.com
Senator Rodney Tom: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Margarita Prentice: email@example.com
A Few Minutes of Your Time Keeps Families Safe: I know that making a call and sending out these emails takes precious time, but this is a tough year and now is the time to make sure that our legislators hear from us.
Pass This Along: Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone you know who cares about keeping children and families safe.
Keeping Tallies: Please let me know when you have made your calls and sent your emails! I am keeping a tally which is very important during this very tough year.
Our trust fund in this state is one of the strongest and best in the country. Almost every state has a children's trust fund and if we lose what we have now, it is unlikely we will ever regain it. Almost all the trust fund's work is community-based. They are a national model in engaging with parents and community members as well as other state agencies and the non-profit field. They are this state's chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America and in that role, they bring in many additional resources to our state.
Thank you so much,
Teresa Rafael, MSW, Executive Director
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds
5712 30th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105