The effort to expand the Parent to Parent program statewide is among the greater accomplishments of this past legislative session. Thanks to Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, more children with developmental disabilities will get the support they need — and their parents will too.
Walsh was the primary sponsor of House Bill 2394, which was recently signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The Parent to Parent program is offered through The ARC of the Tri-Cities and is also in the Walla Walla area, but there are eight counties in the state that don’t offer this important resource to families.
Now, thanks to this new legislation, all Washington families will have access to this successful partnering program. Its primary function is to connect parents of developmentally disabled children with other trained, experienced parents who have children with similar needs. That way, parents new to the program can get help finding resources for the children, as well as emotional support for themselves.
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The bill also provides an additional $77,000 per year to the program, which is more than double its current budget. Locally, the additional money should help with training and a new outreach program to Spanish-speaking families.
More than 700 family members have received help from the Parent to Parent program in the Tri-Cities, and soon families all over the state will be able to benefit from it as well.
Finding out that a child has a developmental disability can be a stressful time for parents, but this program aims to alleviate this and help families feel less isolated. Walsh and the Legislature made a good call boosting this program’s budget.
Pay gap continues
The wage gap continues, with women nationwide earning 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Washington, the statistic is a bit worse, with women earning 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.
Those were the numbers touted earlier this week in honor of Equal Pay Day, which was Tuesday. That day marked 103 days into the year, and is reportedly how many extra days women have to work to finally catch up to their male colleagues.
Studies on why the wage gap is still so wide list a variety of reasons for the discrepancy. Some point to women taking more time off to raise families, others say more women tend to go into careers where salaries are lower, like education, and some studies note women are less likely to ask for as much money as men.
One glaring example of the pay divide, however, recently came from members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. They have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination, pointing to a 2015 report that showed they are paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team.
What is especially irksome is that the women have won three World Cup Championships. Richland’s own Hope Solo, one of the members who filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said the men’s team gets “paid more just to show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
That’s not right, and the culture that allows it has to change.