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Read the plan

King County Executive Dow Constantine sent the Best Starts for Kids Implementation Plan to the King County Council on June 1, 2016.

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Best Starts for Kids is an initiative to improve the health and well-being of King County by investing in prevention and early intervention for children, youth, families, and communities.

The levy will generate about $65 million per year and cost the average King County property owner an estimated $56 per year, which is about one dollar per week.

It will be the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the nation, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in healthy, safe communities that reinforce progress.

Be engaged with Best Starts

Public involvement and engagement are central parts of Best Starts for Kids. We want you to stay informed and be a part of the proccess. You can sign up for our newsletter, follow our blog or watch the process with our Children and Youth Advisory Board.

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Stay informed

Follow our progress, get timely updates, learn about the process, and read the stories behind Best Starts for Kids at our blog.



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Join the process

See the plan take shape as the Children and Youth Advisory Board serves as the advisory body for the majority of Best Starts for Kids-funded programming.


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Watch how brain research shapes Best Starts for Kids

Guiding principles behind Best Starts for Kids

Fifty percent of the revenue will be invested in strategies focused on children under age 5 and pregnant women, such as home visits for new parents and their children. This includes a modest investment to sustain and expand parent/child health services that are delivered through the County's public health centers. The science and evidence shows us that the earlier we invest, the greater the return for both the child's development and our society.

Ten percent of the revenue will be invested in strategies to create safe and healthy communities, such as increasing access to healthy, affordable food and expanding economic opportunities and access to affordable housing.

This strategy will sustain and expand the partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation on Communities of Opportunity, which is based on the latest research regarding the impact of place on a child's success. It also supports local communities in building their own capacity to creative positive change.

Five percent of the revenue will support evaluation, data collection, and improving the delivery of services and programs for children and youth. This will ensure Best Starts for Kids strategies are tailored for children from every background and that we deliver on the results for every child in King County.
A portion of the first year's levy funds will be used to create a youth and family homelessness prevention initiative modeled on a successful pilot project led by the Gates Foundation.
Thirty-five percent of the revenue will be invested in strategies focused on children and youth age 5-24, such as early intervention to prevent teen depression and substance abuse. The science and research tells us that the brain continues to develop during this time and prevention efforts addressed at key developmental stages or transition points in a young person's life help to sustain the gains made earlier in life.

In order to reduce inequities in King County, Best Starts for Kids strategies are designed to be both universal and targeted, with the large majority of levy funding competitively bid in outcomes-focused contracts to community-based organizations. This will help ensure the strategies are implemented in a manner that is appropriate for all cultural and ethnic groups and that each child and caregiver receive the tools and level of support they need.

Best Starts for Kids will refine outcomes and indicators through development of a detailed implementation plan with input and consultation from the community.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography