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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine launches new initiatives that will create safer, healthier schools and neighborhoods throughout King County

Summary

King County will make it easier for kids to eat healthy, exercise and avoid harmful substances with the help of local nonprofits that successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids funding. Executive Constantine also announced that King County will open three new School-Based Health Centers this fall.

Story

Executive Dow Constantine today launched two initiatives that will create safer, healthier schools and neighborhoods for children, youth and families throughout King County.

King County will make it easier for children and youth to eat healthy, exercise and avoid harmful substances with the help of 17 local nonprofits that successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids funding. He also announced that King County will open three new School-Based Health Centers this fall – located in Bellevue, Renton, and Vashon Island – where students can meet with medical-, dental- and mental-health providers at no cost.

“We are delivering on the promise I made to the people of King County – to create safer, healthier, better-connected communities where all children and youth can flourish,” said Executive Constantine. “Best Starts for Kids is no longer a concept. We are launching initiatives that will put more children and youth on a path toward lifelong success.”

The announcement included $2 million to set up the three new School-Based Health Centers and pay for the first year of operations, which will begin in September.

Each new School-Based Health Center will feature a health clinic, counseling space, and a pharmacy, as well as space for a mobile dental unit. On-site behavioral health providers will provide mental-health support, counseling, and referrals to other services.

Graphic: Best Starts provides $2 million to build 3 new school-based health centers.

Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that adolescents who have access to mental-health care at their school are 21 times more likely to meet with a provider than adolescents whose only access is outside of school. Research published in the Journal of School Health found that School-Based Health Centers cut the absentee rate in half among students who had three or more absences.

There currently are 28 School-Based Health Centers in King County, 25 of which are in Seattle. Best Starts for Kids will make more school-based health services available throughout King County, with new centers in urban, suburban and rural communities.

The voter-approved Best Starts for Kids levy will provide a total of $6.7 million for the initial capital investments and operations through 2021. Health services will be delivered by providers who successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids funding:

  • International Community Health Services will deliver services at Highland Middle School in Bellevue
  • HealthPoint will deliver services at Renton High School
  • Neighborcare Health will deliver services on Vashon Island

“These new health centers will be a wonderful resource to reach young people where they spend so much time – at school!” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The centers deliver critical health services that they need and are a proven strategy to improve student health as well as academic achievement. Linking health and school achievement is key to our efforts to close the opportunity gap for our youth.”

Making it easier to make healthy choices

The nonprofit organizations that successfully competed for $1.7 million in funding will help King County increase access to healthy foods, create more opportunities for physical activity, and reduce exposure to harmful substances, such as tobacco, vaping, and firearms.

Graphic: New initiatives from Best Starts fro Kids build safer, healthier schools and neighborhoods.

Executive Constantine launched the initiative at Seattle Children’s PlayGarden, an inclusive play-and-learn center where children who have disabilities can play with kids who are developing at a typical rate, a sensory experience that can promote brain development and prevent social isolation. Thanks to the Best Starts for Kids funding, the PlayGarden will be able to extend their hours to the afternoons and weekends so staff can help more kids who have disabilities navigate the garden, play with animals, and interact with other children at no cost to parents or caregivers.

King County will closely measure the performance of each program to ensure they deliver the desired outcomes and will help service providers make any adjustments necessary to maintain funding.

Healthy and Safe Environments Initiative

  • 1 = access to healthy foods
  • 2 = opportunities for physical activity
  • 3 = reducing exposure to unhealthy substances & dangerous products
  • 4 = creating safe environments that promote health
Show more Name Outcomes Age Group Race/Ethnicity Locations Investment Description
Alliance for Gun Responsibility 3 4 Prenatal-24 All All King County
South King County
$50,000 The Alliance for Gun Responsibility will create a report showing the sources of guns used in crime in King County and work with the communities most affected by firearm violence to make policies that best serve them. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of reducing access to dangerous products and creating safe and health-promoting environments for all children and youth.
APICAT 3 14-18 Asian, Khmer, Lao, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan North King County, Federal Way, Burien, SE Seattle, Seattle International District $100,000 APICAT will create a youth-led counter-marketing campaign to reduce the impact of advertising for vape products in communities where many API youth live. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of reducing youth access to harmful products and substances.
Auburn School District 2 4 5 to 19 All, All Additional categories Auburn $95,939 The Auburn School District will use technology to help students track their fitness and achieve their fitness goals. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to safe physical activity.
Boys and Girls Club 1 5 to 24 All, All Additional categories All of King County $140,139 The Boys and Girls Club will increase the quality of food offered in its programs across King County. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to healthy foods.
El Centro de la Raza 4 Prenatal-24, Families with Children Hispanic or Latino, Mexican or Central American All King County, South King County, Seattle Neighborhoods-Major focus in Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Central Area, Columbia City, Georgetown, South Park $98,673 El Centro de la Raza will develop a toolkit and training to help schools and organizations protect their immigrant students and clients through "sensitive location" designation and safety planning. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of creating safe and health-promoting environments for all children and youth.
FEEST 1 5 to 24 All, Delridge, White Center, Adina categories: Immigrant/Refugee, Low-income, LGBTQ, youth ages 14 to 18 South King County $150,000 FEEST's youth-led project will promote healthy eating and drinking among low-income young people in South King County through workshops, social marketing and increasing the availability of culturally relevant healthy food in the Highline School District. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to healthy foods.
InterIm CDA 1 2 4 5 to 24 All Asian, Somali, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Low-income (youth who receive low or reduced lunch) South King County, City of Seattle Neighborhood: ID, SE Seattle $100,000 Interim CDA's Wilderness Inner City Leadership Development program will support youth working to build their leadership skills, create safer and cleaner public spaces and reduce the health inequities caused by environmental racism in Seattle's Chinatown/International District. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of creating safe and health-promoting environments for all children and youth
Korean Community Services Center 3 4 9 to 21 All Asian North King County, East King County $35,000 The Korean Community Services Center will gather data with a neighborhood survey about drug youth and other health behaviors among Korean and other Asian and Pacific Islander youth in North and East King County, enabling them learn more about the health of these populations and generate shareable data . This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of reducing access to harmful products and substances.
Living Well Kent 1 Prenatal to 100 Asian, Black or African American, Somali, Ethiopian, Hispanic or Latino, Middle Eastern, Additional categories: immigrant/Refugee, LGBTQ Kent $123,761 Living Well Kent will advocate for access to healthy food in Kent by working with community members to sell produce for economic development and engaging the community around food advocacy. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to healthy foods.
Northshore School District 2 5 to 24 All, Additional categories: ability/Disability North King County $104,705 The Northshore School District will train teachers to use the OPEN physical education curriculum and implement it in classes, which will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to safe physical activity.
Seattle Children's PlayGarden 2 4 Prenatal to 24 All, Ability/Disability(Children with disabilities) All of King County $150,000 The Seattle Children's PlayGarden will create opportunities for safe, facilitated outdoor play inclusive of children with disabilities, helping Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to safe physical activity.
Seattle Public Schools TMOD 3 5 to 24 All, Additional categories: LGBTQ Seattle $100,000 Seattle Public Schools will do three things to improve equity in its approach to substance use: to revise the district's discipline code to reduce out-of-school suspensions for violations of the alcohol, tobacco and other drug policy; to implement the Project ALERT substance abuse prevention curriculum better in schools in SE, SW and Central Seattle; and to work with members of student gender and sexuality alliances (GSA) on a social norms campaign against substance use. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of reducing access to harmful substances and creating safe and health-promoting environments.
SnoValley Tilth 1 5 to 24 Low-income: Specifically SNAP East King County $24,716 SnoValley Tilth will start a children's program called Power of Produce (POP) Club, which engages children in educational activities, conversations with local farmers, farm visits and exposure to new kinds of fruits and vegetables, at the Carnation Farmers' Market. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to healthy foods.
Somali Youth and Family Club 4 Prenatal to 24, 25+ years Black or African American, Somali, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Sudanese, Iraqi, Afghani, Burmese, Additional categories: All South King County $149,760 The Somali Youth and Family Club will train an intergenerational group of community leaders in South King County to gather information and advocate for policy change around safe and healthy housing, which will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of creating healthy and safe environments for all children.
UPower 1 2 4 5 to 24 All, Additional categories: Immigrant/Refugee, Low-income, LGBTQ South King County $150,000 UPower will provide trauma-informed physical activity classes, summer community gardening and functional fitness classes, and safe afterschool activity spaces for students at Interagency Academy, where there is currently no physical activity or nutrition program. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of increasing access to safe physical activity and healthy food.
Vashon Youth and Family Services 1 2 3 4 Prenatal to 5 Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, White, Mixed ethnicity, Additional categories: Low-income-(Families eligible for DSHS childcare subsidies) Vashon $99,745 Vashon Youth and Family Services will work with childcare providers on Vashon Island to improve the safety of childcare environments, promote healthy food and physical activity and limit exposure to toxins. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goals of promoting healthy food, physical activity and safe and healthy environments.
White Water Aquatic Management 4 Prenatal to 24 Asian, Black or African American, Somali, Hispanic or Latino, White Unincorporated King County $35,000 Whitewater Aquatics Management will provide free swimming lessons and equipment to homeless women and their children staying at Mary's Place and Neighborhood House, including repairing shower facilities to accommodate these new members' needs. This will help Best Starts for Kids achieve the goal of promoting access to safe physical activity.

Relevant links


Quotes

We are delivering on the promise I made to the people of King County – to create safer, healthier, better-connected communities where all children and youth can flourish. Best Starts for Kids is no longer a concept. We are launching initiatives that will put more children and youth on a path toward lifelong success.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

These new health centers will be a wonderful resource to reach young people where they spend so much time – at school! The centers deliver critical health services that they need and are a proven strategy to improve student health as well as academic achievement. Linking health and school achievement is key to our efforts to close the opportunity gap for our youth.

Patty Hayes, Director of King County -- Seattle & King County

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography