About Us

Child Care Aware of Washington is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Washington has access to high-quality child care and early learning programs. Created by state statute in 1986 and incorporated in 1989, it is the only statewide child care resource and referral program in Washington.

Our Vision

All Washington children experience high quality, racially equitable early care and education opportunities that empower them to dream and flourish.

Our Mission

Child Care Aware of Washington is our state’s most thorough and accessible source of information and support in early care and education (birth to 12 years).

We work alongside families, child care providers, caregivers, and communities to meet the diverse and specialized learning needs of every child in our state. We use data and story to influence policy makers, system leaders and our partners to ensure every child in Washington has equitable access to quality learning experiences.

Our Strategic Plan and Commitment to Racial Equity

We’ve adopted a Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2024! Read about our renewed commitments and goals here.

Child Care Aware of Washington stands with and supports all families of color who encounter the long‐lingering impacts of racism. Read our Racial Equity Policy here.


Staff and Board of Trustees

Meet our trustees and staff

Child Care Aware of Washington has 25 staff members in its Tacoma-based headquarters and contracted field staff throughout Washington with its regional partners. The nonprofit organization is overseen by a volunteer board of trustees who represent key stakeholders throughout the state.

Board of Trustees

Lois Martin, Board Chair
Director, Community Day Center for Children
Manuel Villafan, Board Vice Chair
Vice President & COO, Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington
Vincent Alfonso, Treasurer
Professor, Gonzaga University
Lorna Spear, Ph.D.
Director of Early Learning and Intervention Services, Spokane Public
Schools – Retired
Angela Griffin
Executive Director, Launch
Karma Hugo Director of Early Learning, Office of
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Olympia
Jennifer Chang Hetterly, Board Secretary
Policy, Advocacy & Communications Consultant Palo Alto, CA/Tacoma, WA

LaKia Morrison

Human Resources Consultant, Microsoft
Phoebe Anderson
Chief Executive Officer, Child Care Resources
Michelle Rahl-Lewis
Assistant Director of Early Learning, Tacoma School District

Deeann Burtch Puffert
Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Deeann guides strategic vision for the statewide CCA WA system by working collaboratively with our six regional Child Care Aware of Washington regions and a multitude of early learning and community partners. Having spent 30 years in leadership with Child Care Resources/ CCA of King and Pierce Counties, Deeann is committed to growing and developing new relationships and partnerships that will continue to move child care and informal caregiving into full partnership within the early learning landscape.

Tulay Crosbie
Executive Assistant

Tulay has 17 years of executive assistant experience interacting with wide variety of chief executive officers, directors and board executives. She completed two years of business administration studies at the Aegean University in Turkey and speaks English, Turkish and some German. She currently is taking Spanish at the University of Washington. She is very passionate about her community and has volunteered with several organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the Tacoma Humane Society.

Sandy Maldonado
Director of Early Learning

Sandy has worked with children and families for 20 years. Teaching in infant programs, preschool, school age care, and providing coaching and consultation for QRIS systems. She’s worked in private child care, state-funded and federally-funded programs. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Management and Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College. Most recently she has joined the CCA of WA’s Program Management team for Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system. Sandy is passionate about securing equitable high-quality early learning opportunities for families, and ensuring all educators have opportunities for culturally responsive and relevant professional development.

Karin Anderson
Senior Manager of Early Learning

Karin has 27 years of experience working in the early learning field, including family child care, early intervention services and consultation services to early learning professionals. Prior to her current role, she supported Child Care Aware’s mission at the regional level as an Early Achievers regional lead. Karin is passionate about ensuring kindergarten readiness for all children, and supporting the dedicated regional staff who work to achieve this mission.

Leah Irwin
Program Manager

Leah just joined the CCA of WA team in January 2019. She has 20 years of early learning and child development professional experience. She has experience in child care, preschool teaching, Child Protective Services, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), ECE university teaching, and Head Start/Early Head Start management. She is in the process of becoming a Program for Infant and Toddler Care (PITC) certified trainer and is experienced in delivering trainings to adult learners. Leah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington University, and a Master of Science degree in Family and Child Studies from Miami University of Ohio. She is passionate about high quality child care and early learning for all of our State’s children, with a particular passion for our most vulnerable infants and toddlers. Leah spends her spare time with her husband, two daughters, many family pets, and doing crafting, gardening, and most recently, horse activities.

Ann Chihan
Program Manager

Ann is a lifelong learner with a passion for inspiring the mind, spirit and creativity of children and adults. She has worked in the early learning field for over 18 years. She has worked in a wide range of settings, as a toddler teacher, pre-k teacher, center director, Early Achievers coach, MERIT-Approved trainer and Coach Lead.  Ann holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Washington University. She has built deep connections within communities to advance work addressing the child care desserts and employer engagement. When not at work, Ann can be found in a hammock with a good book or out wandering in the woods.

Lynsey Kemplin
Project Manager for Professional Development

Lynsey joined the CCA of WA program team in June 2021.  She has over ten years of experience in early learning, as a teacher, director, and trainer, and has also taught older students in the K-12 system.  She has a B.S. in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington University and a Masters in Teaching from City University.  When not at work, Lynsey enjoys reading a good book and snuggling with her kitties.

Ashley Stillmaker
Program Support Assistant

Ashley came to Child Care Aware of Washington in September 2016. She has previous experience as a Pre-K educator and recently worked with Comprehensive Life Resources, a nonprofit organization for mental health, primarily in the children’s facility. Ashley studied at Tacoma Community College where she received her associate degree in elementary education and is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Ashworth University.

Meka Riggins
Director of Scholarships

A strong believer in the power of higher education, Meka is responsible for managing our scholarship program. Her work directly touches the lives of every scholar we serve by ensuring the program runs smoothly and efficiently for everyone. She joined Child Care Aware of Washington the fall of 2011. Prior to that Meka was the development and scholarship coordinator at Tacoma Community College.

Christine Zumwalt
Scholarships Coordinator

Christine has been administering scholarships since 2008 and joined the Child Care Aware of Washington Scholarships’ team in 2015. She enjoys working in a position that helps people of all ages have access to a quality education. Christine previously worked at the Seattle Central College Foundation and the Institute of International Education. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communication and Spanish from Washington State University and a Master of Education from the University of Houston.

Ivonne Pereira
Scholarships Coordinator

Ivonne joined Child Care Aware of Washington in January 2017. She has previous experience working in the fields of education, social work and advocacy with refugee and immigrant children and adults from various cultural backgrounds. She believes in empowering those who need it most, as it is her belief every person deserves the opportunity to flourish. Ivonne is bilingual in English and Spanish and has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of North Texas.

Ryan Pricco
Director of Policy & Advocacy

Ryan coordinates all advocacy efforts for Child Care Aware of Washington and is an effective voice in Olympia for children, families and caregivers during the state legislative session. When the Legislature is not in session Ryan focuses on grassroots mobilization, system messaging, representing us at key meetings with state-level partners, staffing the board of trustees’ meetings, and assisting the executive director. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington.

Michel Nelson
Director of Family & Community Engagement

Michel joined Child Care Aware of Washington in the fall of 2016 in a new position to expand support for child care and early learning from businesses and diverse community partners. In addition, Michel coordinates Child Care Aware of Washington’s Family Center with the organization’s regional staff. With a background in marketing, membership and communications, she has led efforts in the nonprofit and public sectors that resulted in innovative partnerships and statewide public awareness campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University.

Alex Hanel
Mobilization Manager

Alex joined Child Care Aware of Washington in 2020 and is responsible for coordinating mobilization activities within the CCA of WA system. Working with CCA of WA’s regional partners, he supports the recruitment, training and coordination of local child care advocates, and works to enhance and expand advocacy efforts on behalf of the child care industry statewide. Alex brings experience in communications with nonprofit childhood development programs, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from Saint Louis University.

Cameron Joy-Kurtz
Engagement Specialist

Cameron joined Child Care Aware of Washington in May 2014. Cameron believes that access to high-quality child care has a multi-generational impact on our communities and our economy. As engagement specialist, Cameron develops innovative outreach strategies to cultivate partnerships between the private, public and nonprofit sectors to improve child care services for Washington’s children. Cameron studied at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and completed his bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Colorado.

Sarah Kelley
Director of Data and Evaluation

Sarah is passionate about increasing quality, access and professionalism in early childhood education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development, early childhood education and care from Washington State University and a master’s degree in policy studies from the University of Washington. She has experience in resource and referral, family advocacy and teaching in Head Start/ECEAP and child care centers. In her graduate research she focused on early learning quality and child outcomes.

Kathryn Arthur
Business and Data Analyst

Kathryn recently joined Child Care of Aware of Washington in May of 2020 after supporting child care providers as an Early Achiever’s Coach for over 4 years. She is continuing her work in early learning as a member of the data team and is excited to utilize data to support continuous quality improvement. Kathryn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling with experience in research and data. When not working, Kathryn enjoys spending time in the barn with the animals and road trips to Alberta and Montana.

Alan Strand
Director of Finance and Operations

Alan supports Child Care Aware of Washington’s mission by making sure finance and accounting tasks happen smoothly. He has more than 15 years of accounting, finance and business management experience with nonprofit organizations in Washington and California. His extensive experience in nonprofit accounting, coupled with an ability to communicate affably and effectively about the topic, led to his role at the University of Washington, Tacoma, as faculty in their Nonprofit Management Certificate program.

Colette Adams
Contract and Finance Manager

Colette has been with Child Care Aware of Washington since September 2005. She works closely with our six regional programs and other subcontractors and vendors to manage, oversee and monitor all contracts. She also assists with internal accounting and finance functions. Previously she was the scholarship counselor for the Washington Scholarships for Child Care Professionals program. With more than 17 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Colette has a keen eye for detail, is a problem solver and enjoys the daily challenges of this position. She recently completed a Contract Design & Management Certificate program through the University of Washington.

Nannette Ward
Finance Supervisor

Nannette supports the overall accounting process of Child Care Aware of Washington. She previously worked for the University of Washington (Seattle and Tacoma). She is currently working to earn her bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Art University. Nannette thrives on building positive changes in the lives of children and parents alike, and since becoming a part of CCA, has helped foster exciting interactions with staff and community partners.

Tiffany Khanphongphane
Office Coordinator

Tiffany recently joined Child Care Aware of Washington, bringing with her seven years of office coordinator experience. She is always looking for ways to make improvements and provide great customer service. Tiffany studied at Renton Technical College where she received her Accounting Clerk Degree.

Janet Fraatz
Director of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Janet joined the CCA WA team in March 2020 to launch the implementation of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation services here in Washington. She holds a MS in Child Development and Family Studies, a MA and CAGS in Mental Health Counseling, and is a graduate of the Harris Institute certificate program in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Janet has over 25 years’ experience in service to children and families, including her work in program management, staff supervision, and early childhood mental health consultation with Smart Support, Arizona’s statewide IECMHC program. In addition to her work in the IECMHC field, Janet has experience in Head Start/Early Head Start program management, public and independent elementary school counseling and a range of early care and education direct service and quality improvement efforts.

Gretchen Escobar
Bilingual Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant

Gretchen joined Child Care Aware of Washington in 2021. She was born in Managua, Nicaragua and moved to the United States at a young age. Her career as a therapist included working in diverse range of settings: elementary, middle and high schools, community mental health centers, sexual assault agencies and private practice as well. She believes that a combination of a committed, cooperative, non-judgmental and compassionate approach alongside the use of psychotherapeutic methods that can be individualized to fit the client’s specific goals, feelings, behavior and experiences, can be very successful during the healing process. Gretchen received her Masters in Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University and her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies – Psychology from the University of Washington.

Celeste Farmer
Supervisor of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Celeste joined the CCA WA team in September of 2021 as the Program Supervisor for the Holding Hope Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program. Celeste holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California and Washington. Celeste became passionate about IECMHC when she began working as a Holding Hope Mental Health Consultant in the Olympic Peninsula in Spring of 2020. Along with her experiences as a Mental Health Consultant Celeste has experience as an Assistant Director, Wraparound Clinician, and Dean of Students. Celeste brings over 7 years of experience supervising staff and overseeing programs with a strengths-based approach.


Annual report, financials and data



Help us make a difference for high-quality child care and early learning programs for every child in Washington State.

Child Care Aware of Washington is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity among our staff. We strongly encourage people of color, people who speak a second language and people with disabilities to apply.

Our regional partners at Child Care Action Council in Olympia are hiring two positions!

Details about the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant position are available here. 

Details about the Family Services Program Manager position are available here.

Looking for a job in child care? Check Washington Child Care Business Jobs, part of Child Care Business Edge


Regional partners

Child Care Aware of Washington provides local services through six regional partners located across the state. You can view a map of our regions with contact information here, or click on a region below.

Child Care Aware of Central Washington

Catholic Family & Child Service

5301 Tieton Dr., Ste. C Yakima, WA 98908-3478


Counties Served:

  • Adams
  • Chelan
  • Douglas
  • Ferry
  • Okanogan
  • Grant
  • Kittitas
  • Yakima

Child Care Aware of Eastern Washington

Community-Minded Enterprises

3307 E. 55th Ave., Ste. B Spokane, WA 99223

800-446-2229 509-242-3405

Counties Served:

  • Asotin
  • Benton
  • Franklin
  • Columbia
  • Garfield
  • Lincoln
  • Pend Oreille
  • Spokane
  • Stevens
  • Walla Walls
  • Whitman

Child Care Aware of King and Pierce Counties

Child Care Resources - King County

1225 S. Weller, Ste. 300 Seattle, WA 98144


Counties Served:

  • King

Child Care Resources - Pierce County

1501 Pacific Ave., Ste. 305 Tacoma, WA 98402


Counties Served:

  • Pierce

Child Care Aware of the Olympic Peninsula

Child Care Action Council

3729 Griffin Lane SE Olympia, WA 98501


Counties Served:

  • Clallam
  • Grays Harbor
  • Jefferson
  • Kitsap
  • Mason
  • Thurston

Child Care Aware of Southwest Washington

Educational Service District 112

2500 NE 65th Ave. Vancouver, WA 98661


Counties Served:

  • Pacific
  • Lewis
  • Clark
  • Cowlitz
  • Klickitat
  • Skamania
  • Wahkiakum

Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington

Opportunity Council

1111 Cornwall Ave., Ste. 200 Bellingham, WA 98225


Counties Served:

  • Island
  • San Juan
  • Whatcom
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish


Contact us

Child Care Aware of Washington
1001 Pacific Avenue, Suite 400
Tacoma, WA 98402

General phone: 253-383-1735
Toll-free: 1-866-416-4321
TTY: 1-800-833-6388
Fax: 253-572-4140

To reach our Scholarships Program:

To reach our Family Center for child care referrals:

To email us a general question:

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