Parents and their babies need dedicated time together to develop close, nurturing relationships that set the foundation for healthy development. Paid family leave expands the options for parents and other caregivers who work, giving them the time they need to bond with and care for their babies during those critical early months – without jeopardizing their ability to make ends meet.

Perigee Fund is pleased to announce the availability of one-year outreach grants to increase access to Washington state’s new Paid Family & Medical Leave (“PFML”) program. Our aim is to ensure that working parents and primary caregivers know about the income they are entitled to and that more are able to choose options that give them time to bond with their babies without undermining their family’s financial security.  

Funded organizations will receive grants, training, communications support, and resources to connect expectant parents and families with very young children to PFML information, education, and enrollment assistance in Pierce and Yakima Counties. 

About Perigee Fund

Perigee Fund is a philanthropic endeavor committed to advancing work in the field of early childhood mental health and perinatal mental health. We envision communities where all parents and primary caregivers are supported in caring for their children with confidence, competence, and joy. We are driven by the fact that the most influential period of brain development is between the prenatal period until about three years of age. Our deepest work is in Washington state, but we also seek to build the capacity of the field and to advance national policy and partnerships.

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Perigee’s Interest in Washington PFML

Reducing parental stress is a way to support healthy early parent-child relationships. Perigee Fund operationalizes reducing parental stress, particularly for parents affected by poverty, adversity, and racism, as supporting parents with more time and more money. PFML does just that at a special time for families.

In January 2020, after years of work by dedicated advocates and policy champions, Washington’s Paid Family & Medical Leave policy took effect. 

Washington is the 6th region (after 5 states and Washington, D.C.) in the nation to respond to increasing public demand to systematically support working people through births, adoptions, foster care, and serious health issues. PFML is one of the most significant extensions of the social safety net in years.

While groundbreaking, PFML implementation requires a complex insurance product, highly personal family decisions, connections between multiple systems (e.g., state, employer, health care), and norms changes.

Perigee Fund has made a multiyear commitment to enhancing the rollout of Washington’s PFML for several mission-aligned reasons:
  • Promotes family bonding and healthy first relationships
  • Supports postpartum recovery and mental health for parents
  • Includes fathers and second parents
  • Provides higher wage replacement to lower income workers
  • Reduces need for infant care
  • More equitable access to paid family leave