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Building on the deep knowledge, connections, and skills within King County communities, and backed by what science and research tell us about human development, Best Starts for Kids meets children and families with the right services at the right time. To date, Best Starts for Kids has reached 490,000 of King County’s youngest children and their families and 40,000 youth and young adults, catalyzing strong starts in a child’s earliest years, and sustaining those gains through to adulthood.

Happy, healthy, safe and thriving

Best Starts for Kids focuses on five strategy areas that prioritize promoting positive outcomes for kids, preventing negative outcomes, intervening early when kids and families need support, and building on community strengths.

Best Starts for Kids Strategies

Click each strategy area to read more.

  • Investing Early
    Learn about how Best Starts supports kids from prenatal development through age 5

     

  • Sustain the Gain
    Learn about how Best Starts supports kids ages 5 - 24 as they progress to adulthood

     

  • Communities Matter
    Learn about how Best Starts strengthens the communities our kids grow up in

     

  • Homelessness Prevention
    Learn how Best Starts supports youth & families to stay housed

     

  • Data and Evaluation
    See how Best Starts engages community to understand what works for our kids

     

Investing Early: Prenatal to age 5 

Best Starts invests early to support pregnant and parenting families, infants, very young children, and caregivers during the critical first five years of life with a robust system of support services and resources that meet families where they are— at home, in the community, and wherever children are cared for.These investments support King County families in meeting their basic needs, connect families to services, and care for the well-being of young children and their families. 

Selected outcomes from Prenatal to Age 5 programs: 

  • Breastfeeding is an important way to bond with a new baby, but can be challenging for first-time parents. Among Best Starts programs that provide post-partum breastfeeding supports, 96% of parents started breastfeeding, helping their babies off to a healthy start from day one. 
  • Home visiting provides parents with a trusted source of support in a child’s earliest years. Home visitors in Best Starts-funded programs have provided over 212,000 visits to new families. Kids whose families participated in the Parent-Child Plus home visiting program showed a 57% improvement in kindergarten readinesscompared to when they started the program. 
  • Using Best Starts funding, Early Supports for Infants and Toddlers increased the number of families receiving developmental support by 34% since 2015, serving nearly 15,000 children under age 3. Over 70% of these children made progress in key developmental areas such as social and emotional development (74%,) acquiring knowledge and skills (71%,) or taking action to meet their needs (72%).

Sustaining the Gain: Ages 5 to 24 

Best Starts for Kids sustains the gains made in early childhood through investments in school and community-based opportunities to for kids and young adults to learn, grow, and develop through childhood and adolescence into adulthood. Best Starts for Kids provides a children and youth in King County with a foundation for lifelong health and well-being through community leadership opportunities, youth development and mentorship, school-based services, supports outside of school time, tailored education and employment opportunities, and resources for families. 

Selected outcomes from Ages 5 to 24 programs: 

  • Since 2018, over 11,000 young people participated in Best Starts-funded before- and after-school and summer programs, receiving over 133,500 hours of additional learning time outside of school. In 2020, 93% of students in these programs improved their academic skills like reading and math, and grew in their social and emotional skills like problem solving, leadership, and ability to develop positive relationships with peers and adults. 
  • Prior to the pandemic, Best Starts partners worked with over 11,000 youth, parents, caregivers, teachers, and school staff in over 70 schools to create safe, welcoming environments for students facing trauma or adversity. 80% of youth in these programs said they felt safer and more valued at school, and 94% started coming to school more frequently. 
  • Best Starts funding supported education and employment programs in the Department of Community and Human Services to increase their enrollment by 71%, serving over 2,700 young people through 2020. 73% of students who completed the Work Training Education program stayed in school, graduated, or enrolled in post-secondary education. 

Communities Matter: Communities of Opportunity

The Communities Matter investments strengthens the communities our kids grow up in by supporting local communities as they build their own capacity to create positive change. Communities of Opportunity is a partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation that has collaborated with 150 organizations to create more than 241 new community partnerships and build the skills and capacity of approximately 2,500 people serving in leadership positions. 

Preventing Homelessness 

Best Starts for Kids assisted young people and families with children at imminent risk of homelessness to remain housed through an innovative approach that includes providing flexible funds and intensive case management, including assistance with securing long-term stable housing. Since 2017, Best Starts for Kids’ Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative served over 10,200 youth and families at risk of losing their housing—96 percent of those completing the program remained housed one year after completing the program. 

Measuring Success: Data & Evaluation

Best Starts actively engages communities in data and evaluation county-wide efforts to understand what is working well for County’s children, youth, young adults and families, to interpret and provide context for the data, and to define success for programs.

See more data about Best Starts for Kids impact

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9105

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-5260