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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 PEPS could have the most impact.

We then asked for feedback on our advocacy work, 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 2023 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’s Happening in 2023 

Our priorities for the 2023 Washington State Legislative Session included paid family leave, affordable housing, and affordable 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: 

  1. Protect Paid Family and Medical Leave 
    Demand for the program exceeds premium collection, challenging its solvency. SB 5286 was signed by Governor Inslee on April 20! The bill will keep Washington’s paid family and medical leave strong and dependable for families by modifying premium amounts. Thanks to the work of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Task Force, this bipartisan proposal retained unanimous support throughout the legislative process.  
  2. Secure Affordable Housing Investments 
    Housing is expensive and many individuals and families have been forced into homelessness. The Legislature invested a historic $400 million into the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable homes and preserve existing affordable housing units. Additional investments were made for housing and reducing homelessness. These investments will help provide housing to many individuals and families currently lacking options that will meet their needs. Future investments will be needed to close the remaining housing gaps.   
  3. Make Childcare More Affordable 
    Childcare is expensive and in short supply. On top of that, childcare workers are often underpaid. The Legislature made investments in early learning to support childcare workers and expand access for low-income families. Investments were primarily made in Working Connections Child Care and the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) – two programs that help low-income families access childcare and preschool programs. These investments will allow more children to attend free pre-K and increase reimbursement rates for preschool and childcare providers who serve children from lower income families.  

In addition to focusing on these legislative priorities, 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 aboutlegislative advocacy and policy issues and have multiple groups sharing consistent messages with the community, legislators, and the media.

Thank you to those of you who emailed legislators or signed your name in show of support during the 2023 session. In preparation for the 2024 Legislative Session, PEPS will reflect back on the work we’ve done so far and continue to explore ways to build a culture of advocacy for parents. Together, we can support policies that improve the lives of all.


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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