Seattle soda tax funding critical to early learning

As the largest and oldest nonprofit children and family service providers in the state of Washington, Children’s Home Society of Washington is writing in response to recent action by the Seattle City Council’s Finance Committee involving revenues from the Sweetened Beverage Tax. We believe that funding for ParentChild+ (formerly Parent-Child Home Program), a nationally-recognized, research-based early childhood literacy and school readiness program, is critical to improving the lives of young children and their families in the City of Seattle.

Children’s Home Society of Washington is one of the largest ParentChild+ providers in the region and one of the leading early learning providers in the state of Washington. The proposed action by the Finance Committee would reduce ParentChild+ home visiting programs in Seattle by $1 million and for Children’s Home Society of Washington, this would result in the reduction of 34 families in our program.

These families are primarily people of color, from immigrants/refugee communities, and are low income. ParentChild+ boosts academic achievement among children in low-income families. An evaluation of ParentChild+ in Washington state indicated significant success in increased kindergarten readiness, increased kindergarten English language proficiency, and increased Grade 3 academic performance.

We strongly encourage the Seattle City Council to reconsider recent action by the Finance Committee and support the funding of high-quality early learning services for Seattle’s young children.

We look forward to working with the Seattle City Council to ensure that ParentChild+ funding remains intact and to continue to explore how to ensure better outcomes for children and their families. Thank you for your continuing leadership on behalf of Seattle’s children and families.