Parent Ambassadors Successes and Media

Brief Accomplishment Summary

The 2014 the Parent Ambassador program was given a grant from Thrive Washington to enhance their racial equity lens. This grant included expanding racial equity training, having more materials translated, and improving outreach and support to underserved communities of color. We conducted focus groups to get direct feedback from Ambassadors about what elements of the Parent Ambassador experience was most valuable and specifically how our more intentional focus on racial equity. For the full report please click here: Focus Group Final Report

The 2013 Parent Ambassador program received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to start an Individual Development Account (IDA) Project. The Parent Ambassador program provided intense contact and support to the parent participants. Parents received group financial education, individual financial coaching, task encouragement and support from parent coordinators and the Program Director, access to multi-media financial information and resources, and financial consultation with the experienced financial education trainer. This IDA project blended into the Parent Ambassador program showed promising results in empowering parents to set and meet family financial goals to build their financial security. For the full report please click here: IDA Evaluation Report

PA One Pager

2016 Federal Success

Federal Advocacy

Parent Ambassadors also advocate at the federal level. Our Ambassadors meet with their members of Congress when they are home, communicate regularly with congressional staff, provide input on policy and budget matters, and travel to DC to participate in training and meeting with their delegation and the Administration. Some very specific success that can be attributed to the work of the Parent Ambassadors program include:

  1. Ensuring that the new Head Start Program Performance Standards strengthened parent engagement.
  2. Working with the Obama Administration and members of Congress on the Child Care Development Block Grant Reauthorization specifically around stability of care.
  3. Being on the front line of the fight to undue to the across the board cuts known as sequestration

2015 Legislative Session

  • HB1491 and SB5259 Early Start Act. Parent Ambassadors helped pass the Early Start Act out of the House and Senate this year. They are currently helping on passing the 12 month Authorization bill.

2014 Legislative Session

  • HB2519 Child Welfare Bill. Last year the Parent Ambassadors played a key role in pushing through legislation that makes it easier for children in the child welfare system to enroll in ECEAP.

2013 Legislative Session

  • HB1723 in progress. This bill is an opportunity for members of the early learning community to come together to figure out how to weave all of the various funding steams together.
  • SB5595 in progress. This bill is about getting working connections child care program working properly. DEL and DSHS are required to fix administrative problems that have made it hard for parents to receive a subsidy and maintain eligibility.
  • Both 1723 and 5595 are now sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting for signature.

2011- 2012 Legislative Sessions

  • Defeated Governor’s proposal to limit access to child care subsidies to only families eligible for TANF within the first two months of the legislative session.

Early Education specific

  • ECEAP program received a $2 million increase in the last budget
  • Parent Ambassadors played a significant role in the passage of WaKIDS, the state’s new kindergarten readiness assessment process. 
  • Parent Ambassadors played an important role in garnering support for Head Start by holding site visits with members of Congress meeting with Congressional leaders. One of our Parent Ambassadors was highlighted for special recognition by Sen. Patty Murray during one of our visits to DC.  The recognition starts 71 minutes in.
  • Current and former Parent Ambassadors sit on key advisory groups including our state’s Early Learning Advisory Council and other advisory groups.

Child Care Specific

  • Passed SB6226 authorizing child care subsidies for a full 12 months.
  • Led effort to prevent cuts to the Working Connections Child Care program and increase the income eligibility from 175% of the poverty level to 200% of FPL.
  • Removed a requirement that women in need of child care would have to resolve child support issues with the father prior to applying for child care subsidies.
  • Was instrumental in the development of Office of Child Care’s new 12 month authorization guidance at the national level.

2010 Legislative Session

  • Successfully advocated for the creation of an ECEAP entitlement so that all low income children in Washington will receive high quality early learning services by 2018.
  • Successfully advocated for changes to the child care subsidy system so that the system is more child focused and friendly to providers and families.
  • Advocated to prevent cuts to early learning including working connections child care.

2009 Legislative Session

  • Supported nationwide effort to substantially increase Head Start funding as part of the Economic Recovery Act
  • Successfully fought attempts to cut funding for early childhood education programs including ECEAP and child care



8-18-2015 Parent Ambassador Darsheen Sargent talks to King 5 about Proposed Head Start overhaul

4-16-2015 Early education for low-income kids buried in red tape, By Jerry Large, Seattle Times

3-30-15 Jessie Goodman (P.A.) Testimony on House budget

3-15-2015 Joanie Talarico (P.A.) Testimony on two generation programs

1-12-15 Homeless Mom to Testify in Olympia 

3-20-13 My Turn: Today's choices affecting kids' future Kitsap Sun - Victoria Hilt

3-18-13 Budget cuts affect diverse rangeof programs Blog post by Maricela Rodriguez

2-20-13 Congratulations Unsung Hero: John Calvin Jones (P.A.)

2-19-13 Congratulations Unsung Hero: Victoria Hilt (P.A.)

4-12-11 League of Education Voters Blog post by Surina Warren-Nash

1-1-13 Kent agency helps young mom rebuild her life, work toward goals

9-20-12 Crystal Gavin, 47-Percenter: 'I Don't Want To Work To Just Cover My Child Care Costs'

9-15-12 Local mom fights to save pre-school program (Jennifer Ross)

9-11-12 DesiRae Zabel Huffingtonpost Blog: The Last Shot

6-27-12 Lori Pittman Seattle Times: Parents also get a Head Start

6-18-12 Lori Pittman Champions of Change panel at the White House: 17 min marker

5-2-12 Nicole Erickson: "I want more for my children" - Perspectives from an A+ Washington supporter

4-24-12 Immaculate "I don't want my kids to fall through the cracks" - Perspectives from an A+ Washington supporter

2-23-12 April Terry Blog Spot

2-21-12 House Ways and Means Committee: Jamie Lynn Devries

2-2012 Department of Early Learning UPDATE- Bianca Bailey

12-13-12 Lower Columbia College Blog: Welded sculpture serves as teaching tool and inspirational decor - James McBride

Elizabeth Grillett, Sen. Cantwell, Tiffany Simkins2-10-2011 KIRO - WSA Advocacy Day (parent ambassador interviewed at 37:00)

12-9-2010 KUOW - Gov. Orders Cuts As Preschool Waitlist Soars In Wash.

12-8-2010 KIRO-TV - Gloria Fortune, 2010 WSA parent ambassador, interviewed about ECEAP (about 5:55 into 6pm news)

11-29-2010 KIRO-TV - Cecily Jenkins, 2009 WSA parent ambassador, interviewed about Working Connections Child Care Subsidies (around 12:00)

10-18-2010 Whidbey News Times - Local mom fights for education funding in DC

10-2-2010 Centralia Chronicle - Caring for the Forgotten Children

3-17-10 KING-5 - Learning for Life - Parent Ambassador Program giving parents a voice

4-1-09  Kirkland Reporter - Early-learning program faces state budget axe


4-3-13 Head Start & Early Head Start,1:30:00 Rebecca Boyer

2-26-13 House Bill 1723 House Appropriations Committee Elizabeth Grillett

4-13-11 ECEAP & Working Connections, 2:47:00 April Ritter, James McBride, Surina Warren-Nash

1-26-11 TANF/Working Connections, 1:40:30 Misty Shapansky, April Ritter

1-18-11 WAKids Kindergarten Readiness, 23:00 Surina Warren-Nash, 50:00 April Ritter

1-13-11 ECEAP, 39:00:, Eula Motelet

12-8-10 Working Connections & ECEAP Funding, 19:00 Bianca Bailey & Gloria Fortune

3-1-10 Working Connections child care reform bill, 21:00 Kylee Allen

2-28-10 Working Connections child care reform bill, 38:00 Bianca Bailey & Kylee Allen

2-23-10 Child Care budget, 12:33 James McBride, 14:55 Cecily Jenkins (James' blog post about his experience)

1-26-10 Including Early Learning in "Basic Education", 59:00 Kylee Allen, 1:00:56 Cecily Jenkins, 1:14:15 Elizabeth Grillett

1-14-10 ECEAP funding, 1:40:15 Gloria Fortune

1-14-10 Working Connections child care funding, 1:15:45 April Ritter (audio only)

1-13-10 ECEAP funding , 1:05:30 Gloria Fortune

1-13-10 Working Connections Child Care funding, 1:27:35 Jeanelle Rainier & James McBride

Letters to the Editor

4-11-13 Kitsap Sun- Don't hurt working parents (Natasha Fecteau)

2-27-13 The Goldendale Senteniel: Head Start Provides Just That (Rebecca Boyer)

2-10-13 The Spokesman- Review: Make Early Learning a Priority (Jennifer Ross)

4-17-12 herald Net- All kids deserve quality Pre-K (Nicole Erickson)

3-14-12 The Columbian- Propsed cuts will backfire (James McBride)

2-28-12 The Seattle Times- Kindergarten Fees (Nicole Erickson)

1-20-12 Kitsap Sun- Head Start is helping my son (Sarah Hogan)

12-28-11 The Reflector Extra- Not providing for children's future is failure (Surina Nash)

12-5-12 Herald Net- Pay for kids now, or pay more later (Nicole Erickson)

WSA News Releases

2011 01-12 Formerly Homeless ECEAP Parent Testifying

2010 12-08 Record Waitlists in ECEAP / ECEAP Parent Testifying

2010 11-10 Governor Cuts Child Care Subsidies to 4000 Families

2010 10-07 April's Story - 2500 Cut from Working Connections Childcare Subsidy

2010 02-26 News Release on Child Care Subsidy Reform


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