Executive Constantine appointed Sheila Capestany – a nationally recognized expert in early childhood development who has experience working with diverse communities – to improve child and youth services in King County.
Executive Dow Constantine has appointed a nationally recognized leader in early childhood development to improve child and youth services and help every child in King County reach his or her full potential in life.
Sheila Capestany - who has worked extensively with diverse communities and with government, social services, public health and education - will provide strategic direction and project management for Best Starts for Kids, an initiative that Executive Constantine proposed this week to the Metropolitan King County Council. The proposal includes putting a six-year levy on the November ballot that would provide funding for prevention and early intervention programs, starting with prenatal services through age 24.
"Sheila's proven leadership ability and expertise in early childhood development is exactly what we need to help every child in King County reach his or her full potential in life," said Executive Constantine. "She will build upon the work we're doing to ensure that children and youth services in King County are focused on the outcomes we all want for our community."
The proposed levy would cost the average King County homeowner about $56 a year, or about $1 a week. The prevention-oriented approach - based on the latest available brain science - would decrease negative outcomes in the community, including mental illness, domestic violence, chemical dependency, homelessness and incarceration.
Executive Constantine announced details about Best Starts for Kids on Monday during his State of the County address. If the Metropolitan King County Council votes to put the proposed six-year levy on the ballot this fall and it's approved by voters, it would provide funding for prevention and early intervention services, starting with prenatal care and through age 24. It would cost the average King County homeowner about $56 per year, or about $1 a week.
By providing the resources needed for prevention-oriented programs, the initiative will reduce negative outcomes in the community, such as mental illness, domestic violence, chemical dependency, homelessness and incarceration.
"I am excited to be joining Executive Constantine's team working with the Best Starts for Kids Initiative to ensure the health, well-being and best start for all the children and youth, and their families in our community," said Capestany.
Capestany will also lead the implementation of the County Council's Youth Action Plan, which is designed to inform and guide the County's annual investments in programs and services for children and youth and work to ensure equitable opportunities for children to progress through childhood building academic and life skills for the future.
"Sheila's experience - particularly in early childhood development and working with diverse communities - will be so valuable to our efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth in our community," said Adrienne Quinn, director of the King County Department of Community and Human Services, where Capestany will be based.
Capestany most recently served as executive director of Open Arms Perinatal Services, a human services agency assisting low-income women and families. Under her leadership, Open Arms became nationally recognized as a model for community-based services and was the first doula program to become accredited in the United States. Her work experience includes strategic planning, budgeting, policy development, and health and human services outcomes design. She has worked with infants and toddlers as well as with teens and young adults.
Capestany earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College and a Masters of Public Health and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington. She is currently a lecturer for the School of Social Work and a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities Advisory Committee, the Thrive by Five Washington Board of Directors Core Initiatives Committee, and the Department of Early Learning Home Visiting Services Committee.
Capestany begins her new position May 1.