The Washington House Democrats announced on Dec. 17 that Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) will chair the Human Services and Early Learning Committee beginning in the 2019 legislative session.
The House Human Services and Early Learning Committee considers issues affecting children and families, including policies related to child welfare, children’s mental health and substance abuse, aid for needy families, services for those with developmental disabilities and the juvenile justice system. The committee also focuses on early learning and child development from birth to kindergarten.
“Every child deserves the opportunity for a strong and healthy start in life, and working to ensure that has been a top priority for me during my time here in the Legislature,” Senn said in a press release from Washington State House Democrats. “I am honored to now lead that work for the House Democrats as the new chair of Human Services and Early Learning.”
Senn has been a member of the formerly named Early Learning and Human Services Committee since her appointment to the Legislature in 2013, and she has served as the vice chair since 2016.
Earlier this month, Senn also was elected as the first co-chair of the oversight board for the new Department of Children, Youth and Families, which was created as a single agency dedicated to preventing adverse childhood experiences and improving outcomes for children.
Senn recently passed legislation to increase access to children’s mental health services, expand social-emotional learning in public schools, provide continuous services for foster youth, extend working connections child care eligibility to vulnerable children, and increase housing options for individuals with developmental disabilities.
“Washington state has been a leader on innovative policies that provide children and their families the extra support they need to thrive, and I look forward to continuing that legacy,” Senn said.
In addition to her chair position, Rep. Senn also will serve on the House Local Government and Appropriations committees.