July 2, 2012
Council for Children and Families’ work transfers to state Department of Early Learning
In a move that will better coordinate and align available services and supports for Washington families, the Department of Early Learning (DEL) today announced the integration of the state Council for Children & Families (CCF) into DEL.
The transfer is due to House Bill 1965, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, which passed in 2011. The bill called for CCF to sunset on June 30, 2012, and its early learning functions and funding transferred to DEL.
The transition will help consolidate functions of the state’s child abuse and neglect prevention work and build capacity in Washington and at DEL to promote important public awareness campaigns to support healthy parenting practices.
The Council for Children & Families, which the Legislature created in 1982, will now be called Strengthening Families Washington.
The functions of Strengthening Families Washington include:
- Community-based parent learning, leadership and volunteer opportunities
- Postpartum mood disorder public awareness campaign (Speak Up When You’re Down)
- Shaken Baby Syndrome public awareness campaign (Have a Plan)
- Leadership on behalf of state and national partners to support effective child maltreatment prevention efforts
Funding for Strengthening Families Washington includes:
- Federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families.
- The Children’s Trust Fund of Washington, funded through the sale of Keep Kids Safe specialty license plates and Heirloom Birth Certificates.
"This is an opportunity to bring together two entities with closely aligned missions to support healthy child development," said DEL Director Bette Hyde. "We at DEL welcome Strengthening Families Washington, which is important work focused on building on the inherent strengths of families. The network of providers and supporters of this work is strong, and passionate about informing and supporting families and preventing child abuse and neglect in our state."
The work of the Strengthening Families Washington initiative is based on the five key protective factors that research shows promote healthy families:
- Parental resilience.
- Social connections.
- Knowledge of parenting and child development.
- Support in times of need.
- Children’s healthy social and emotional development.
HB 1965 was passed as part of the Governor’s and Legislature’s effort to reduce boards and commissions and streamline state government. The bill also directed a group including DEL’s director to explore how the state can focus on reducing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), a group of experiences that research shows impact a child’s ability to be successful in school and life. The 2012 supplemental operating budget included $250,000 in state funding to develop a public-private initiative to promote innovative new approaches to prevention and mitigation of ACEs. The Department of Social and Health Services leads this effort.
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