Nearly 4 out of 10 children in Washington are living in families that struggle to afford food, health care, housing and child care. A growing body of evidence is showing that even a brief encounter with hardships like these profoundly impact a household’s young members, often for years to come.

For children of color, who make up a growing share of our state’s youngest residents, tough times pose a particular threat. They are more likely to be born into families that can’t afford the basics, and less likely to be well served by public services intended to protect kids from economic shock.

Data analyzed by KIDS COUNT in Washington finds troubling disparities by race in nearly every indicator of child well-being. These disparities indicate the need for greater public investments in early childhood education, food, health care and income supports that ensure that all kids thrive: Investments like Apple Health for Kids, which is helping 8-year-old Sarah McIntyre grow up healthy and strong; or Working Connections Child Care, which helps working parents like Cambria Silva de Jesus stay on the job and gives her kids a stable place to learn and grow.

Children and families like these need sound investments by engaged citizens and smart policymakers. That only happens when you get involved. Join us to improve kids’ lives.