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Advocacy at PEPS

Advocating for equitable policies is one part of our Strategic Direction, which means PEPS is striving to show up for families by taking action on policies that impact equity in our region. We are embracing our responsibility to leverage the large community of parents and caregivers in our network and will engage with issues and policies that affect parents and babies.

Engaging in advocacy is new for PEPS! Over the past several years, we have been learning and gathering input from families in the larger community, as well as the PEPS community.

Read more about our journey to advocacy at PEPS and subscribe to receive email updates about our advocacy work.


Informing PEPS Advocacy Priorities

To start, we conducted an organizational assessment, getting input from parents and organizations in the community to learn about the areas that significantly impact parents and how we can better show up for families in our region. We learned about the larger challenges we’re all facing — like access to affordable childcare, housing, and transportation.

Next, we conducted a landscape analysis, consisting of 15 interviews with stakeholders and coalition leaders involved in advocacy and policy locally and in Washington state, to identify areas where PEPS could have the most impact.

We then asked for feedback on our advocacy work in 2022, and were thrilled by the enthusiastic response and support! We received nearly 400 responses, and the results are helping guide our advocacy work moving forward, from selecting our annual advocacy priorities to determining the most effective ways to communicate with our community about this work. 

Learn about the key takeaways from our advocacy survey.


What Happened in 2024 

Our key priorities for the 2024 Washington State Legislative Session included economic security, housing, and childcare. These are the solutions that families told us would make the most difference in their day-to-day lives.

The PEPS community advocated with state legislators to:

  • Expedite Access to Paid Family and Medical Leave. Families rely on Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) for economic security, including after having a baby. The application process can be slow and burdensome. A policy change was passed that will require health care providers to provide PFML certification within seven days. This change along with funding for increased staffing will minimize delays during the application process, making it simpler for families to access benefits.
  • Secure Affordable Housing Investments. Access to safe, affordable housing is important for family stability and helping children thrive. Housing is expensive, and many individuals and families have been forced into homelessness. Washington State invested over $125 million more in affordable housing to increase supply and affordability. The Legislature did not approve a bill to create a sustainable funding source for affordable housing.
  • Expand Programs that Increase and Sustain Access to Childcare. Childcare is expensive and in short supply. Our state investing more funding Holding Hope. Investments were not made to our state-funded preschool (0-3), Early ECEAP. Both programs operate at the intersection of early childhood development and mental health, supporting children and families by increasing access to high-quality, comprehensive childcare.

In addition to focusing on these legislative priorities, PEPS tracked these emerging issues:

  • Baby Bonds. In recent years, legislation has been discussed to create the Washington Future Fund, a baby bonds program that would invest $4,000 for each baby covered by Medicaid. These babies would be able to access the capital as young adults to support education, home ownership or starting a business in WA State. This proposal received no action in 2024 but will remain an issue in 2025.
  • Infertility Coverage. One in eight couples experience infertility but very few people have health insurance coverage for fertility treatments. Prior legislation would require large group health plans and health plans covering public employees to cover diagnosis and treatment for infertility and egg freezing. This proposal received no action in 2024 and is expected to be an issue again in 2025.
  • Vaccines. The Washington Vaccine Association (WVA) purchases vaccines for all Washington children under age 19. The definition of "vaccine" did not include the monoclonal antibody that was recently approved to protect babies and toddlers from RSV, so it was updated. This change will protect babies and toddlers from RSV in future years.

PEPS continues to participate in three statewide advocacy coalitions year-round: the Early Learning Action Alliance, Prenatal-5 Relational Health Subgroup, and the Work and Families Coalition. Advocacy coalitions are an effective way to collect current information about legislative advocacy and policy issues and have multiple groups sharing consistent messages with the community, legislators, and the media.

What is Advocacy? 

Advocacy: an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions.  

People advocate to influence decision-making — at work and home — for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. For PEPS, this includes listening to parent communities and our partner organizations about the needs of the families they serve. Collectively, we will use our voices to raise awareness of these needs and create change at a local or state level. 


Our Goals for Advocacy

PEPS will work in partnership with other groups and organizations around specific issues, including those that affect expectant and new parents, maternal and child health, early learning, paid family and medical leave, and other basic needs.  

3 points of focus

Our advocacy work will fall into three areas of advocacy:

  1. Policy advocacy: PEPS will shape and uplift policies that prioritize racial equity and help Washington families.
  2. Administrative advocacy: PEPS will work with state agencies when appropriate to implement new policies equitably.
  3. Electoral advocacy: PEPS will educate our communities about local and state ballot initiatives relevant to children and families.


Get Involved

Are you interested in joining us in advocating for families? PEPS wants to make it easy for our parent community to engage. You’re busy raising your family and working! We are tracking these issues closely and highlighting opportunities for you to engage, such as signing in to support bills and reaching out to your legislators at key moments.  

Subscribe to receive email updates and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date on our work.


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