18 Organizations Call on King County Council to Prioritize Vulnerable Children, Youth in $315 Million PSTAA

To honor state statute and the Council’s own intent, groups are asking members to pass motion for once-in-a-generation investment.

SEATTLE – On Monday, July 29, the King County Council can make a once-in-a-generation investment in improving the educational outcomes for 12,000 children and youth in King County experiencing homelessness, foster care or involved in the juvenile justice system from Pre-K through college.

Eighteen organizations serving these populations, including Treehouse which gives youth in foster care a childhood and a future, are calling on the King County Council to make these most vulnerable children and youth the top priority for the funding in order to close the largest opportunity gaps in educational attainment. The Council is expected to vote on legislation to guide funding allocations at their Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday.

The Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA) will provide more than $315 million in state resources to the county over 15 years. State legislators in creating PSTAA, committed to “improve educational outcomes in early learning, K-12, and higher education including… youths that are low-income, homeless, or in foster care, or other vulnerable populations.” The King County Council improved upon this through their own 2017 motion adding “communities of color” and “youth involved in the juvenile justice system.”

To honor the state statute and the County Council’s own intent, the groups are asking King County Council members to pass a motion that:

  1. Requires early learning facilities or programs funded through PSTAA designate new childcare slots to improve kindergarten readiness for children in foster care or families experiencing homelessness.
  2. Ensures K-12 services funded by PSTAA have specific and targeted interventions designed to improve high school graduation rates for youth in foster care, experiencing homelessness or engaged in the juvenile justice system.
  3. Mandates post-secondary scholarships and barrier removal funds to reach young people who have experienced foster care, homelessness, or the juvenile justice system, in order to improve their post-secondary access and completion.

The data demonstrates the tremendous opportunity to improve educational outcomes:

Every year, more than 12,000 King County children and youth experience foster care, homelessness or are involved in the juvenile justice system.

  • There are about 1,550 children and youth in foster care/out-of-home care in King County on any given day. About 41% of those children are under five years of age. At least 50% are children and youth of color.
  • There were 9,500 students that experienced homelessness in King County’s public K-12 school system in the 2016-17 school year. 65% were grades K-8 & 35% were grades 9-12. 82% of students experiencing homelessness in King County were students of color.
  • On average, 46 youth are in King County Juvenile Detention each day over a year. 82% are youth of color.

See sources and additional data.

About Treehouse
Founded in 1988 by social workers, Treehouse is Washington’s leading nonprofit organization addressing the academic and other essential support needs of more than 7,000 youth in foster care. We’re committed to youth in care statewide achieving a degree or other career credential, living wage job and stable housing at the same rate as their peers. With fierce optimism, we fight the structural inequities that impact all of us. Learn more at www.treehouseforkids.org.

Media Contact:
Jesse Colman
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]

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