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Ballot Measures

Treehouse Endorses 2 Measures Impacting Youth

On November 3, Washingtonians have the opportunity to make our voices heard at the ballot box. At Treehouse, we are proud to endorse two ballot measures this year because of the positive impact they will have on children, youth and young adults who have experienced foster care.

 

Referendum 90

In 2020, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 5395 concerning comprehensive sexual health education. The bill requires school districts to adopt or develop, consistent with state standards, comprehensive age-appropriate sexual health education for all K-12 students, and will excuse students at parental request. If passed, Referendum 90 will allow this bill to go into effect.

What does “comprehensive sexual health education” mean and what would be taught to students?

It varies by age. For students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, the curriculum would focus on social-emotional learning. For students in 4th – 12th grade, it would include information about physical and social development, how to develop interpersonal skills and choose healthy behaviors, health care and prevention resources, the development of meaningful relationships and avoidance of exploitative relationships, affirmative consent and bystander training. You can read the passed law and how language is defined here.

How does it impact youth in foster care?

Youth and alumni of foster care have advocated for comprehensive sexual health education in schools for many years. Our young people often do not have a stable adult in their lives who can or will have these discussions with them. As a result, 26% of girls in foster care give birth to a child before age 19, compared to 2% of their peers.

LGBTQ+ youth also are disproportionately represented in foster care. While there are supportive relative caregivers and foster families, this is not every young person’s experience. Some may not feel comfortable talking about sexual health education with their caregiver. We believe every student has the right to this critical education and the opportunity to embrace their identity.

 

King County Proposition 1

This proposition would authorize King County to issue bonds that will make public health, safety and seismic improvements to Harborview Medical Center facilities. The current Harborview bond expires in three years. For the average homeowner in King County, this new bond would be approximately $55 more per year. You can find out how much this proposed property tax will impact you here (scroll down to the Tax transparency tool).

How does it impact youth in foster care?

Harborview Medical Center is the regional provider for services that directly support youth in foster care. Their Center for Sexual Assault and Trauma provides a range of services including:

  • Medical/forensic services for sexual assault and child abuse.
  • Therapy services for children and families affected by child maltreatment, sexual assault, crime and other traumas.
  • Foster Care Assessment Program (a comprehensive evaluation to identify barriers to reunification or adoption, addressing emotional and behavior problems with children, psychiatric and substance abuse concerns in parents, parenting needs, and child educational and functioning status).

Harborview also is our community safety net hospital that will accept Medicaid and Apple Care insurance under which all youth in foster care are covered.