Advocacy

High-quality child care helps whole communities. Children excel, families earn more and businesses retain great employees.

Take Action for Kids

90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years and creates a million new neuronal connections each second.1 Early learning has a lasting impact.

Children who receive high-quality child care:

33%

more pay earned

over their lifetime 2

30%

more likely

to graduate from high school 3

70%

less likely

to be arrested for a violent crime 4

The Struggle for High-Quality Care

With infant care costing over $1,000 a month, child care can be a family’s biggest expense. Yet child care providers often live in poverty. Why?

Child care is very labor-intensive. Wages stay low because families can’t pay more. The gap between what it costs to provide high-quality care and what families can afford is worsened by low child care subsidies. Learn what Child Care Aware of Washington is focusing on right now to sustain and strengthen our child care system – English, Spanish.

In Washington state, subsidies cover only about a third of the cost of a high-quality program. Learn more about how low state reimbursement rates affect child care.

 

Learn why high-quality child care matters with this video.

1

Advocacy Resources

Writing to Legislators

Step-by-Step Guide

Finding Contact Information

Writing Effective Letters

Before you read further, check out our three-step guide to communicating with lawmakers.

English // Spanish // Somali

The Washington Legislature has a handy tool for finding the contact information of your representatives.

  1. Enter your address
  2. Look for your district number
  3. Click on the name of your legislators
  4. Their phone number, email, and mailing address should appear

District Finder Tool

Sometimes it may feel like there are more experiences to share than space on a page. Regardless of if you are writing a short or long message, or if it is a hand-written card or email, this will help you decide what information will be most impactful to include.

English // Spanish // Somali

Data and Information

Expanding Assistance for Working Families

Providing Financial Support to Child Care Providers

Protecting Existing Investments

The Importance of ECE Scholarships

Facts and figures about the impact that expanding assistance for working parents will have on Washington’s children and economy.

English // Spanish // Somali

If child care is so expensive, then why do providers need financial relief? It’s a complicated topic, so learn more about why financial support for early learning is not only necessary, but also benefits all of us across the state.

English // Spanish // Somali

One of our biggest legislative priorities is ensuring that Washington expands assistance for early learning, not reduce it. Before speaking to legislators, read more about why protecting critical investments is essential.

English // Spanish // Somali

Facts and figures to help you communicate to law makers about the statewide impact made by Early Childhood Education scholarships.

English // Spanish // Somali

2

State and Local Data

Child Care Aware of Washington provides thorough and independent information and support to assist:

  • Families seeking quality child care
  • Child care programs seeking to improve quality
  • Policy makers

Click on the counties below to get county-specific child care data, including data on kindergarten readiness, child poverty and the percentage of children under age six living in homes with all adults working.

Adams County

  • In Adams County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 34 with capacity for 623 children in 2017, to 26 providers with capacity for 490 children in December of 2021.
  • 85% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 21 children with high-quality child care in Adams County last year.

Asotin County

  • In Asotin County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 9 with capacity for 442 children in 2017, to 9 providers with capacity for 467 children in December of 2021.
  • 75% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 8 children with high-quality child care in Asotin County last year.

Benton County

  • In Benton County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 144 with capacity for 4,019 children in 2017, to 119 providers with capacity for 4,254 children in December of 2021.
  • 69% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 467 children with high-quality child care in Benton County last year.

Chelan County

  • In Chelan County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 111 with capacity for 1,810 children in 2017, to 101 providers with capacity for 1,980 children in December of 2021.
  • 85% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 182 children with high-quality child care in Chelan County last year.

Clallam County

  • In Clallam County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 43 with capacity for 952 children in 2017, to 43 providers with capacity for 1,134 children in December of 2021.
  • 83% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 109 children with high-quality child care in Clallam County last year.

Clark County

  • In Clark County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 233 with capacity for 8,575 children in 2017, to 188 providers with capacity for 8,137 children in December of 2021.
  • 57% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,281 children with high-quality child care in Clark County last year.

Columbia County

  • In Columbia County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 4 with capacity for 38 children in 2017, to 0 providers with capacity for 0 children in December of 2021.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 2 child with high-quality child care in Columbia County last year.

Cowlitz County

  • In Cowlitz County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 48 with capacity for 1,966 children in 2017, to 45 providers with capacity for 2,299 children in December of 2021.
  • 73% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 215 children with high-quality child care in Cowlitz County last year.

Douglas County

  • In Douglas County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 68 with capacity for 1,087 children in 2017, to 62 providers with capacity for 953 children in December of 2021.
  • 82% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 102 children with high-quality child care in Douglas County last year.

Ferry County

  • In Ferry County, the number of child care providers has increased from 1 with capacity for 12 children in 2017, to 2 providers with capacity for 38 children in December of 2021.
  • 50% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.

Franklin County

  • In Franklin County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 146 with capacity for 2,747 children in 2017, to 136 providers with capacity for 2,965 children in December of 2021.
  • 94% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 228 children with high-quality child care in Franklin County last year.

Garfield County

  • In Garfield County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 2 with capacity for 84 children in 2017, to 0 providers with capacity for 0 children in December of 2021.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3 children with high-quality child care in Garfield County last year.

Grant County

  • In Grant County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 153 with capacity for 2,716 children in 2017, to 126 providers with capacity for 2,668 children in December of 2021.
  • 81% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 125 children with high-quality child care in Grant County last year.

Grays Harbor County

  • In Grays Harbor County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 48 with capacity for 1,223 children in 2017, to 38 providers with capacity for 1,031 children in December of 2021.
  • 83% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 89 children with high-quality child care in Grays Harbor County last year.

Island County

  • In Island County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 47 with capacity for 1,310 children in 2017, to 32 providers with capacity for 800 children in December of 2021.
  • 79% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 108 children with high-quality child care in Island County last year.

Jefferson County

  • In Jefferson County, the number of child care providers has increased from 7 with capacity for 153 children in 2017, to 9 providers with capacity for 273 children in December of 2021.
  • 57% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 19 children with high-quality child care in Jefferson County last year.

King County

  • In King County, the number of child care providers has increased from 1,908 with capacity for 62,406 children in 2017, to 2,084 providers with capacity for 73,009 children in December of 2021.
  • 70% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 4,793 children with high-quality child care in King County last year.

Kitsap County

  • In Kitsap County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 142 with capacity for 4,518 children in 2017, to 124 providers with capacity for 5,372 children in December of 2021.
  • 53% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 551 children with high-quality child care in Kitsap County last year.

Kittitas County

  • In Kittitas County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 28 with capacity for 820 children in 2017, to 18 providers with capacity for 737 children in December of 2021.
  • 56% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 47 children with high-quality child care in Kittitas County last year.

Klickitat County

  • In Klickitat County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 9 with capacity for 98 children in 2017, to 9 providers with capacity for 179 children in December of 2021.
  • 38% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 11 children with high-quality child care in Klickitat County last year.

Lewis County

  • In Lewis County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 43 with capacity for 1,110 children in 2017, to 33 providers with capacity for 1,170 children in December of 2021.
  • 69% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 163 children with high-quality child care in Lewis County last year.

Lincoln County

  • In Lincoln County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 6 with capacity for 60 children in 2017, to 3 providers with capacity for 44 children in December of 2021.
  • 33% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 2 children with high-quality child care in Lincoln County last year.

Mason County

  • In Mason County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 32 with capacity for 893 children in 2017, to 23 providers with capacity for 878 children in December of 2021.
  • 63% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 162 children with high-quality child care in Mason County last year.

Okanogan County

  • In Okanogan County, the number of child care providers has increased from 34 with capacity for 587 children in 2017, to 38 providers with capacity for 686 children in December of 2021.
  • 61% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 59 children with high-quality child care in Okanogan County last year.

Pacific County

  • In Pacific County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 11 with capacity for 247 children in 2017, to 9 providers with capacity for 246 children in December of 2021.
  • 75% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 11 children with high-quality child care in Pacific County last year.

Pend Oreille County

  • In Pend Oreille County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 2 with capacity for 107 children in 2017, to 2 providers with capacity for 135 children in December of 2021.
  • 25% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 9 children with high-quality child care in Pend Oreille County last year.

Pierce County

  • In Pierce County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 512 with capacity for 17,934 children in 2017, to 472 providers with capacity for 20,290 children in December of 2021.
  • 73% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 2,816 children with high-quality child care in Pierce County last year.

San Juan County

  • In San Juan County, the number of child care providers has increased from 6 with capacity for 193 children in 2017, to 7 providers with capacity for 201 children in December of 2021.
  • 100% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 4 children with high-quality child care in San Juan County last year.

Skagit County

  • In Skagit County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 103 with capacity for 2,573 children in 2017, to 87 providers with capacity for 2,349 children in December of 2021.
  • 80% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 239 children with high-quality child care in Skagit County last year.

Skamania County

  • In Skamania County, the number of child care providers has increased from 5 with capacity for 93 children in 2017, to 7 providers with capacity for 144 children in December of 2021.
  • 71% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3 children with high-quality child care in Skamania County last year.

Snohomish County

  • In Snohomish County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 506 with capacity for 16,434 children in 2017, to 478 providers with capacity for 18,472 children in December of 2021.
  • 63% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,583 children with high-quality child care in Snohomish County last year.

Spokane County

  • In Spokane County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 288 with capacity for 12,180 children in 2017, to 232 providers with capacity for 11,645 children in December of 2021.
  • 64% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,149 children with high-quality child care in Spokane County last year.

Stevens County

  • In Stevens County, the number of child care providers has increased from 12 with capacity for 276 children in 2017, to 17 providers with capacity for 363 children in December of 2021.
  • 59% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 26 children with high-quality child care in Stevens County last year.

Thurston County

  • In Thurston County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 200 with capacity for 6,933 children in 2017, to 156 providers with capacity for 6,775 children in December of 2021.
  • 74% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,068 children with high-quality child care in Thurston County last year.

Wahkiakum County

  • In Wahkiakum County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 2 with capacity for 54 children in 2017, to 1 provider with capacity for 56 children in December of 2021.
  • 100% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.

Walla Walla County

  • In Walla Walla County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 53 with capacity for 1,269 children in 2017, to 40 providers with capacity for 1,180 children in December of 2021.
  • 76% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 99 children with high-quality child care in Walla Walla County last year.

Whatcom County

  • In Whatcom County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 110 with capacity for 3,277 children in 2017, to 106 providers with capacity for 3,686 children in December of 2021.
  • 62% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 601 children with high-quality child care in Whatcom County last year.

Whitman County

  • In Whitman County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 26 with capacity for 1,227 children in 2017, to 15 providers with capacity for 1,004 children in December of 2021.
  • 69% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 48 children with high-quality child care in Whitman County last year.

Yakima County

  • In Yakima County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 352 with capacity for 8,418 children in 2017, to 314 providers with capacity for 7,706 children in December of 2021.
  • 88% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 472 children with high-quality child care in Yakima County last year.

To open the reports, you must have Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, please click here to download a free copy.

For information about how Child Care Aware of Washington uses child care provider data, click here.

If you have any questions about the data reports, please contact Sarah Kelley at sarah@childcareawarewa.org.

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State Legislative Session

The 2023 Legislative Session begins on January 9th, 2023. Read our Legislative Agenda to learn more about our legislative priorities for 2023.

See our Legislative Agenda

2023 Legislative Priorities

Stabilize the child care educator workforce

Fund child care mental health consultation support

Fund DCYF's decision package

Expand Play & Learn groups for Friend, Family & Neighbor Caregivers

Support provisions in the 2023 Early Educator Legislative Agenda

  • Raise Working Connections reimbursement rates to the 85th percentile
  • Require DCYF to develop implementation plan to ensure living wages for all child care educators
  • Invest in new  Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health consultants to ensure each region has access to consultation support and current waitlist in child care programs can be addressed fully
  • Raise rates for infants and non-standard hour care
  • Implement enrollment-based reimbursements
  • Streamline eligibility to Working Connections Child Care subsidies for Washington’s families
  • Invest in more groups, in more communities who are disproportionately isolated from licensed child care.
  • Direct DCYF – in partnership with providers, parents, and stakeholders – to develop recommendations and implementation plans for delivering publicly funded wage supplements and benefits to the entire child care workforce. Appropriate money for research, planning, and partner engagement
  • Raise Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) reimbursement rates to the 85th percentile and increase rates for infant care and non-standard hours care
  • Pay WCCC reimbursements based on enrollment rather than attendance
  • Make more families eligible for child care assistance through full-time authorization, streamlined eligibility, and expansion of allowable activities
  • Make background checks free for the workforce
  • Direct and fund the Dept. of Commerce to develop a comprehensive economic development framework for the child care sector

What You Can Do

It is never too early or too late to let your legislators know you support state investment in high-quality child care and Early Achievers, and in increasing the reimbursement rates paid to providers who accept children on state subsidies/Working Connections Child Care.

Take Action!

4

Parent Ambassadors

Attention parents! Become a Parent Ambassador and make a real difference in the lives of children!

Parent Ambassadors learn advocacy, leadership, communications and engagement skills to become strong voices for young children and families in our state. They advocate and teach others about the importance of high-quality child care and early learning programs that benefit young children and help close the opportunity gap. Ambassadors receive training and support to become effective advocates and leaders. If selected, you will serve a one-year term that begins in March 2023. All travel expenses are subsidized by WSA.

Being a Parent Ambassador is an outstanding opportunity to join a community of advocates who care passionately about expanding access to high-quality child care and early learning programs so that more families can benefit.

Applications for 2023 Parent Ambassadors are now being accepted. If you are interested in this great opportunity, please submit your application by Jan. 15, 2023. Applications and full details can be found on the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP website linked below.

Key Dates

Parent Ambassadors are required to commit to attending all four of these events, so check your calendars now!

  • In-person Event #1: March 13-15, 2023 Federal Way
  • In-person Event #2: June 26-29, 2023 – Ellensburg
  • In-person Event #3: October 18-20, 2023 Northern Quest Casino – Spokane
  • In-person Event #4: Feb.  13-16, 2024- Winter Meeting and Advocacy Day Olympia

Learn More at the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP

Ready to apply? Click here / aquí for the application.

State Trends At-A-Glance

Fewer Providers

Larger Population

Rising Child Care Costs

The number of family child care providers dropped 20% in 5 years, with larger child care centers adding some capacity. While the decline in family child care providers has recently stabilized, some counties are continuing to see declines.

Washington’s population grew by more than 400,000 in 5 years, while the capacity of child care providers grew by just 3,000 children.

Washington ranks 3rd in the nation for least affordable child care for an infant in a family child care program. The average cost to have an infant in a child care center is 15.4% of median income for a married couple and a daunting 51.5% of median income for a single mother. While median household incomes have increased 5% since 2010, median child care rates have increased between 13-20% for center-based care and 11-31% for family child care.

Child Care Aware of Washington provides thorough and independent information for effective policy making.

  1. Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Developmenthttps://developingchild.harvard.edu/.
  2. National Institutes of Health “The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development,” https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/seccyd/
  3. First Five Years Fund Invest in Us Report 1. National Institutes of Health “The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development,” https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/seccyd/
  4. High Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 4: https://highscope.org/perrypreschoolstudy/