2010 Parent Ambassadors

We had great Parent Ambassadors for 2010, from all over Washington.  Many have testified in Olympia on ECEAP and Working Connections issues, and they've all visited their legislators!  Congratulations to our 2010 Ambassadors:

  • Robb Atherton, Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP
  • Stephenie Browne, Spokane County ECEAP
  • Rachelle Ensor, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Immaculate Ferreria-Allah, PSESD ECEAP
  • Gloria Fortune, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor ECEAP
  • Elizabeth Grillett, PSESD Early Head Start
  • Kendra Gunion, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Lorie Kavaklian, Aberdeen School District ECEAP
  • Tamara Long, PSESD ECEAP (Multicultural Family Center of Hope)
  • James McBride, Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP
  • April Ritter, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start
  • Brian Rose, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Lisa Sullivan, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor
  • Wayne Ueda, Spokane County ECEAP
  • April White, Early Childhood Opportunities NW (Bellingham)
  • Tiffany Simkins, Lewis County Head Start

2010 Parent Ambassadors meet with Senator Patty Murray in Washington DC.

2010 Successes

The most impressive accomplishments of the 2010 parent ambassadors were the legislative victories. We achieved significant results despite a more than $3.8 billion state budget deficit. Parent Ambassadors helped to secure victories in three major areas: child care subsidy reform, ECEAP entitlement, and funding. Their work was integral to the passage of these key policy changes and in minimizing cuts to early learning.

House Bill 3141

Parent Ambassadors were the driving force on House bill 3141, which makes significant improvements to the child care subsidy system.  The legislation extends the child care subsidy redetermination period for families enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start, and ECEAP.   Under current law parents receiving child care subsidies face multiple hurdles and red tape to maintain their eligibility. Often families are reauthorized every 3 months.  This leads to families being knocked out of the system and their child losing access to quality child care.  This new policy change will put the child at the center of the system and build in more stability for providers and parents.  The victory is all the more remarkable because this policy change had been sought by advocates for more than 15 years and was initially opposed by the Governor.

Ambassadors were involved on many levels:

  • Ambassadors helped develop and conceive of the legislation.  When our chief sponsor Rep.  Ruth Kagi (D-Shoreline) and our coalition wanted to know how various aspects of the bill would impact real families, ambassadors were called upon for advice and input.
  • Ambassadors testified at several House and Senate hearings.  On several occasions, legislators followed our Ambassadors out into the hall during and after hearings to ask follow-up questions and get more information about their experiences.
  • Ambassadors mobilized parents back at their local programs to contact their lawmakers during the legislative session.  Hundreds of e-mails were sent asking lawmakers to support this legislative change.  Ambassadors also made frequent contacts to the Governor’s staff.
  • Ambassadors participated on conference calls with key stakeholder groups, our early learning coalition, and with Dr.  Bette Hyde, the director of the Department of Early Learning.


House Bill 2731

In most legislative sessions the passage of the child care subsidy reform bill would be enough.  But parent ambassadors also helped to secure another piece of landmark legislation, House bill 2731, which will make our state’s preschool program an entitlement for all low income children by 2018.  This legislation prohibits the state from cutting ECEAP in the next legislative session and requires lawmakers to begin providing funding to serve the more than 4,000 eligible kids sitting on wait lists.  Ambassadors were successful in discussing the benefits of high quality early learning programs and the need for funding increases. In two examples, ambassadors from our Spokane ECEAP program met with all of the key early learning champions in the Senate in the beginning of the session and in the House parent ambassadors met with the key sponsor of the bill, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) to ensure that the legislation built off of ECEAP with full comprehensive services and parent engagement.  It is a testament to the hard work and effectiveness of our ambassadors and other early learning advocates that this commitment was made by the legislature in a period of such financial turmoil.

Ambassadors Help Ward Off Budget Cuts

While many states made cuts to children’s services and early learning, Washington State did not make any deep spending reductions to early learning.  One of the main reasons that cuts did not take place was the Parent Ambassador Program.  Ambassadors successfully fought off large proposed cuts to both ECEAP and child care.  Our ambassadors participated in multiple events and activities sponsored by our coalition.  Several of our ambassadors became so effective in their presentations they were called upon regularly by other coalition partners for speaking roles and quotes were included in various publications.  


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