SOAR has four advocacy priorities: Supporting Parents, Helping Children Prepare for Success in School, Improving Early Education & Child Care, and Supporting School-Age Children and Youth. SOAR’s Policy Agenda matches these four goals with goal-specific solutions.

Our Goals

Supporting Parents

Improving the quality and access to information, education and support for parents increases their ability to help their kids succeed in school and life. This is particularly crucial for low-income parents, teen parents, and families with special needs.

SOAR Policy Solutions

  • Support Early Learning Council recommendations related to sound policy and increased resources for parent support
  • Expand support for programs that are research, theory and expertise-based and have clearly measured results and outcomes
  • Support initiatives that contribute to healthy and stable home environments for all children and youth

Helping Children Prepare for Success in School

Children who aren’t ready for school are more likely to fail or repeat grades, need special education classes and drop out. It is important to support families so that kids are ready to think, read, learn and get along with others when they start school.

SOAR Policy Solutions

  • Support universal access to culturally-competent developmental screenings for all children birth-to-three years of age at critical age junctures
  • Ensure that capacity to support all children, especially those with special needs, is included in early childhood guidelines and quality standards
  • Support policies and funding that enhance child care providers’ ability to serve children with special needs in a culturally competent manner
  • Support continued reduction of the wait list for the Children’s Health Program by funding more slots

Improving Early Education & Child Care

High-quality early childhood education experiences help children develop to their fullest potential, prepare them for success in school, and have a major impact on how happy and successful a child is later in life.

SOAR Policy Solutions

  • Support creation and funding of an incentive-based Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), including funding levels that are adequate to assure achievement and maintenance of high quality, culturally competent services; ongoing availability of training and technical assistance to programs; professional development capacity for early childhood and afterschool professionals within higher education and community-based training programs; salary guidelines appropriate to each area of the state; commitment to and plan for state-wide implementation
  • Increase childcare subsidy rate to ensure quality, culturally competent childcare is affordable and available to all low-income parents and families with special needs and that centers serving low-income children can attain and sustain the highest QRIS ratings possible
  • Fund income-related scholarships to assure that families who do not qualify for subsidy and cannot afford the full cost of care have access to quality, culturally-competent childcare
  • Expand strategies and resources to support family, friend and neighbor caregivers that are inclusive of and responsive to diverse communities
  • Expand ECEAP eligibility and accessibility through increasing slot funding to match that of Head Start; adding additional slots to serve all eligible children; expanding services to children age birth to 3; and increasing state match for Head Start to off-set 1% federal reduction
  • Support strategies and resources for early childhood and afterschool providers to respond effectively to the social-emotional and behavioral needs of all children

Supporting School-Age Children and Youth

Access to high quality, culturally-competent out-of-school time programs, leadership opportunities, meaningful relationships, and safe environments is critical to school-age children and youth’s success in school and in life.

SOAR Policy Solutions

  • Support afterschool programs as excellent opportunities for extended learning and an integral part of K-12 educational programming
  • Support the Washington Afterschool Network’s efforts to provide a common policy framework for afterschool programming and a high quality professional development system
  • Support increased funding for culturally competent afterschool programming and programming that capably serves children and youth with developmental delays and other special needs
  • Support allocation and funding policies for public schools that assure equal base funding levels for all schools and enhanced funding opportunities for schools with high numbers of low-income, English-language learning and children with special needs