I have had the opportunity over the past four years to work with Gov. Gregoire on education and children’s issues. Washington has become a leader in the nation on early learning as a result of her vision and ability to work with the legislature and the private sector. At the governor’s request, the Legislature has made significant new investments in programs for vulnerable children, foster care, reducing class sizes, health-care coverage and child-nutrition programs. Looking at the progress we have made for children over the past four years, it is distressing to hear these accomplishments distorted and attacked on the television and radio.
Take foster care, for example. Nearly 10,000 children in Washington are placed in foster care each year. For most children, this provides needed safety and stability. For a few, it does not. Gov. Gregoire and the Legislature have dramatically increased funding (approximately $198 million) and oversight of foster care to address these problems. When Gregoire took office, Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations were required to investigate within 72 hours when a child was at risk of harm. Today, it’s 24 hours. This quick action has made children safer, and resulted in fewer subsequent referrals for child abuse and neglect.
It is important to understand the facts and the record before deciding who would be the best choice for governor. As chair of the Early Learning and Childrens’ Services Committee in the House of Representatives, there is no question that the education and care of children will receive priority in a second Gregoire administration. Please look at the record and decide what issues are most important in the coming years, and whose record indicates those priorities will be protected.
Rep. Ruth Kagi, Chair
Early Learning and Children’s Services Committee Washington state House of Representatives
Early Learning and Children’s Services Committee
Washington state House of Representatives