Every child is born with unlimited potential.
As Executive Director of LifeWire — Washington State’s largest comprehensive domestic violence service agency — I see it in the children who walk through our doors. They are testaments to the fact that when we intervene in abusive and adverse environments and introduce positive and healthy experiences to children at a young age, kids can live up to their fullest potential.
Yet Washington State continues to fall short in preparing at-risk youth to lead healthy and productive lives as adults.
More than 30,000 students in Washington State are homeless — a 50 percent increase from just six years ago.
Washington ranks among the worst in the extent of child homelessness. Meanwhile, our graduation rates have declined since 2000, and continue to lag behind national averages.
When children grow up without a home, they are four times more likely to show delayed development, and are twice as likely to have learning disabilities as their non-homeless peers. Every child needs quality supports and healthy environments to thrive—and at-risk children from disadvantaged environments are least likely to get them.
Fortunately, there are proven, low-cost and high-impact investments we can make from birth to age 5 that have greater returns on a child’s education, health and productivity. These early intervention programs are not only effective, they also have the greatest return on investment.
This November, the Best Starts for Kids initiative will make its way onto King County voters’ ballots. The proposed levy would provide much-needed funding for prevention and early intervention programs designed to increase the number of youth who reach adulthood healthy and ready to succeed.
As a King County resident and a leader in the domestic violence and homelessness community for more than 30 years, I urge you to vote yes on Best Starts for Kids.
Executive Director of LifeWire Barbara Langdon