The Metropolitan King County Council has approved a plan setting parameters for how it will spend nearly $400 million in new revenue for child-development programs, approved by voters last year.
The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted a plan on Monday that sets guidelines for how to spend nearly $400 million in new tax revenue for child-development programs.
The money, which will be spent over six years, comes from the Best Start for Kids levy, approved last year by voters. About half the money will go toward programs aimed at pregnant women and children under age 5, and about a third will go to programs for youth ages 5 through 24. The remainder will go to community programs, data collection and evaluation.
The plan approved by the council Monday does not specify what programs or organizations will receive money. Rather, it sets guidelines for the types of programs that will be funded, and organizations will likely begin to apply for money early next year.
So, for instance, there will be more than $9 million in new, annual funding for home-based programs, like home visits for families with young children. That’s nearly a 20-fold increase over the current county funding level for such programs.
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An additional $5 million annually in new funding will go to behavioral health programs, like early screening and treatment for drug abuse and mental-health problems. That’s more than 13 times as much as the county currently spends on such programs each year.
A $19 million effort funded by the levy, to battle child and family homelessness, was approved separately by the County Council earlier this year.
Voters approved the Best Start for Kids levy by a vote of 56 percent to 44 percent last fall. It will cost the average homeowner an estimated $56 per year over the life of the six-year levy.