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Youth from Sohool's Out Washington's after school program.

At their best, schools can be a point of stability and support for students and families. And all children, teens, and young adults deserve a school environment that is safe, supportive, respectful, and engaging.

Best Starts for Kids supports partnerships between schools, school districts, community-based organizations, young people, and families that ensure students feel safe, supported, and respected at school; promote trusting and consistent relationships; and deliver high levels of support so students can achieve and lead.

Learn more about School Partnerships and see results:

How are we doing?

The overarching goal of this strategy is to support projects that utilize community-centered practices to nurture students’ social, emotional and academic development, improve school culture and climate, and reduce the use of punitive and exclusionary discipline practices. Actively confronting racism in educational institutions is foundational to this goal.

In 2018, this investment fell under the category "Building Momentum." Stay tuned for data!

How are we doing?

School-based Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To services (SBIRT-SB) is a structured approach to promoting social and emotional health and preventing substance use for middle school students. It begins with an interactive, teen friendly survey that provides instant, personalized feedback based on how the student responds to questions about their strengths, substance use, social and emotional health, and safety. Students are offered opportunities to connect to individualized resources and talk further with a caring adult who has been trained in the model. 

Best Starts for Kids and the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency levy combined funds to expand SBIRT for middle school students in King County.

In 2018, this investment fell under the category "Building Momentum." Stay tuned for data!

How are we doing?

Best Starts for Kids partnered with School’s Out Washington to provide high-quality and culturally relevant after school, weekend, and summer learning and enrichment opportunities for elementary and middle school students. The Out of School Time strategy uses two funding models developed based on community feedback:

  • Place-Based Partnerships: Partnering with two or more organizations to provide comprehensive and consistent summer and afterschool programming in high-need neighborhood and school communities. 
  • People of Color-Led organizations: Strengthening program capacity and reach for culturally-responsive out of school time programs for and by underserved communities of color.

How are we doing?

School-based health centers provide comprehensive primary care and mental health services to children and adolescents in the school setting. In 2018, students in Bellevue, Renton, and Vashon school districts made 5,732 visits to Best Starts-funded school-based health centers, which offer confidential medical and mental health services on-site at school.Twelve existing school-based health centers in Seattle and King County enhanced their services to meet emerging needs for mental health care, substance use prevention, and health care services. 

Read more about School Partnerships on the Best Starts Blog:

Starting in March 2020, households across our region and across the country will have the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Census. Your participation matters. Learn how you can promote a fair and accurate census at

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Phone 206-263-9105

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-5260