Statewide group formed to reduce poverty

As many families struggle on a regular basis, Governor Jay Inslee has formed a new interagency group to reduce poverty in Washington.

According to Inslee, when families are able to meet basic needs, children do better in school, communities flourish and the economy grows.

“In Washington state, more than a half million children live in families that struggle to make ends meet,” Inslee said. “This is unacceptable anywhere, but especially in a state with so much prosperity. We must do whatever we can to reduce poverty in Washington.”

According to recent figures, the Washington State poverty rate has exceeded the national rate, averaging 1.7% higher than the national level for most of the last decade.

In his release, Inslee says that the work group will consist of 10 local and state agencies as well as members of the Legislature, and it will be co-lead by the departments of Social and Health Services, Commerce and Employment Security.

“The group will rely on the expertise of those most impacted by poverty and other stakeholders, including non-profit, philanthropic and community-based organizations.”

Inslee added that the efforts of this work group will “lay a strong foundation for achieving better results for children, families and communities”.

The work group will consist of members representing DSHS, ESD, Commerce, the Health Care Authority, the Workforce Training and Coordinating Board, the Washington Student Achievement Council, the Department of Health, the Department of Early Learning, the Department of Corrections and the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.

Also included will be “no less than six stakeholders who represent those most affected by poverty” as well as representatives from both the House and Senate.

In a release by Inslee, he states that the work group shall:

  • Establish a measurable set of goals, informed by existing state-agency analysis or peerreviewed literature, for poverty reduction based on data-driven strategies. These goals should address situational as well as inter-generational poverty
  • Engage diverse stakeholder groups from service providers, community-based organizations, legislators, the business community, Washingtonians experiencing poverty, and subject matter experts in the validation of these goals and the development of measures and strategies for implementation of a poverty reduction plan.
  • Collaborate with partner agencies on the intersections of poverty reduction efforts. Where appropriate, recommend refinement to existing programs to achieve better results of shared objectives as they relate to poverty reduction.
  • Develop, by September 2018, a comprehensive 10-year poverty reduction strategy for recommendation to state agencies, legislative and executive branch leadership.
  • Report, by December 2019, to the WorkFirst Task Force, Governor, and appropriate committees of the Legislature on the progress achieved towards the goals previously identified and make recommendations to state agencies, as well as the executive and legislative branches regarding program improvements to further these efforts.

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