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 31 with capacity for 599 children in 2018, to 25 providers with capacity for 484 children in June of 2023.
  • 92% 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 29 children with high-quality child care in Adams County so far this year.

Asotin County

  • In Asotin County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 10 with capacity for 493 children in 2018, to 10 providers with capacity for 483 children in June of 2023.
  • 67% 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 16 children with high-quality child care in Asotin County so far this year.

Benton County

  • In Benton County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 137 with capacity for 4,153 children in 2018, to 133 providers with capacity for 4,321 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 324 children with high-quality child care in Benton County so far this year.

Chelan County

  • In Chelan County, the number of child care providers has increased from 105 with capacity for 1,772 children in 2018, to 116 providers with capacity for 2,090 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 104 children with high-quality child care in Chelan County so far this year.

Clallam County

  • In Clallam County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 46 with capacity for 1,001 children in 2018, to 36 providers with capacity for 1,016 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 58 children with high-quality child care in Clallam County so far this year.

Clark County

  • In Clark County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 243 with capacity for 9,079 children in 2018, to 200 providers with capacity for 8,367 children in June of 2023.
  • 58% 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 744 children with high-quality child care in Clark County so far this year.

Columbia County

  • In Columbia County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 4 with capacity for 38 children in 2018, to 0 providers with capacity for 0 children in June of 2023.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3 children with high-quality child care in Columbia County so far this year.

Cowlitz County

  • In Cowlitz County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 46 with capacity for 1,962 children in 2018, to 45 providers with capacity for 2,293 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 98 children with high-quality child care in Cowlitz County so far this year.

Douglas County

  • In Douglas County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 70 with capacity for 1,106 children in 2018, to 66 providers with capacity for 1,083 children in June of 2023.
  • 87% 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 60 children with high-quality child care in Douglas County so far this year.

Ferry County

  • In Ferry County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 1 with capacity for 12 children in 2018, to 0 providers with capacity for 0 children in June of 2023.

Franklin County

  • In Franklin County, the number of child care providers has increased from 144 with capacity for 2,905 children in 2018, to 171 providers with capacity for 3,410 children in June of 2023.
  • 89% 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 146 children with high-quality child care in Franklin County so far this year.

Garfield County

  • In Garfield County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 2 with capacity for 84 children in 2018, to 0 providers with capacity for 0 children in June of 2023.

Grant County

  • In Grant County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 147 with capacity for 2,618 children in 2018, to 143 providers with capacity for 2,880 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 101 children with high-quality child care in Grant County so far this year.

Grays Harbor County

  • In Grays Harbor County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 52 with capacity for 1,292 children in 2018, to 38 providers with capacity for 1,214 children in June of 2023.
  • 86% 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 76 children with high-quality child care in Grays Harbor County so far this year.

Island County

  • In Island County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 49 with capacity for 1,346 children in 2018, to 31 providers with capacity for 834 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 63 children with high-quality child care in Island County so far this year.

Jefferson County

  • In Jefferson County, the number of child care providers has increased from 7 with capacity for 153 children in 2018, to 8 providers with capacity for 164 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 12 children with high-quality child care in Jefferson County so far this year.

King County

  • In King County, the number of child care providers has increased from 1,991 with capacity for 65,356 children in 2018, to 2,348 providers with capacity for 77,787 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 2,909 children with high-quality child care in King County so far this year.

Kitsap County

  • In Kitsap County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 144 with capacity for 4,770 children in 2018, to 126 providers with capacity for 5,241 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 283 children with high-quality child care in Kitsap County so far this year.

Kittitas County

  • In Kittitas County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 22 with capacity for 695 children in 2018, to 20 providers with capacity for 863 children in June of 2023.
  • 60% 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 22 children with high-quality child care in Kittitas County so far this year.

Klickitat County

  • In Klickitat County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 9 with capacity for 125 children in 2018, to 8 providers with capacity for 172 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 4 children with high-quality child care in Klickitat County so far this year.

Lewis County

  • In Lewis County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 42 with capacity for 1,208 children in 2018, to 33 providers with capacity for 1,305 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 78 children with high-quality child care in Lewis County so far this year.

Lincoln County

  • In Lincoln County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 5 with capacity for 60 children in 2018, to 3 providers with capacity for 44 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 1 child with high-quality child care in Lincoln County so far this year.

Mason County

  • In Mason County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 34 with capacity for 940 children in 2018, to 23 providers with capacity for 890 children in June of 2023.
  • 67% 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 72 children with high-quality child care in Mason County so far this year.

Okanogan County

  • In Okanogan County, the number of child care providers has increased from 34 with capacity for 593 children in 2018, to 40 providers with capacity for 755 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 22 children with high-quality child care in Okanogan County so far this year.

Pacific County

  • In Pacific County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 10 with capacity for 239 children in 2018, to 9 providers with capacity for 252 children in June of 2023.
  • 67% 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 Pacific County so far this year.

Pend Oreille County

  • In Pend Oreille County, the number of child care providers has increased from 2 with capacity for 107 children in 2018, to 3 providers with capacity for 145 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 2 children with high-quality child care in Pend Oreille County so far this year.

Pierce County

  • In Pierce County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 537 with capacity for 19,496 children in 2018, to 498 providers with capacity for 21,225 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 1,707 children with high-quality child care in Pierce County so far this year.

San Juan County

  • In San Juan County, the number of child care providers has increased from 6 with capacity for 193 children in 2018, to 7 providers with capacity for 243 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 1 child with high-quality child care in San Juan County so far this year.

Skagit County

  • In Skagit County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 97 with capacity for 2,390 children in 2018, to 93 providers with capacity for 2,417 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 160 children with high-quality child care in Skagit County so far this year.

Skamania County

  • In Skamania County, the number of child care providers has increased from 5 with capacity for 91 children in 2018, to 6 providers with capacity for 98 children in June of 2023.
  • 67% 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 Skamania County so far this year.

Snohomish County

  • In Snohomish County, the number of child care providers has increased from 501 with capacity for 16,889 children in 2018, to 511 providers with capacity for 19,242 children in June of 2023.
  • 67% 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 944 children with high-quality child care in Snohomish County so far this year.

Spokane County

  • In Spokane County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 275 with capacity for 12,092 children in 2018, to 229 providers with capacity for 11,934 children in June of 2023.
  • 68% 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 745 children with high-quality child care in Spokane County so far this year.

Stevens County

  • In Stevens County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 14 with capacity for 331 children in 2018, to 13 providers with capacity for 321 children in June of 2023.
  • 60% 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 17 children with high-quality child care in Stevens County so far this year.

Thurston County

  • In Thurston County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 201 with capacity for 7,110 children in 2018, to 156 providers with capacity for 8,057 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 516 children with high-quality child care in Thurston County so far this year.

Wahkiakum County

  • In Wahkiakum County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 2 with capacity for 54 children in 2018, to 1 provider with capacity for 56 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 Wahkiakum County so far this year.

Walla Walla County

  • In Walla Walla County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 48 with capacity for 1,228 children in 2018, to 44 providers with capacity for 1,276 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 80 children with high-quality child care in Walla Walla County so far this year.

Whatcom County

  • In Whatcom County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 111 with capacity for 3,305 children in 2018, to 107 providers with capacity for 3,828 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 279 children with high-quality child care in Whatcom County so far this year.

Whitman County

  • In Whitman County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 21 with capacity for 1,041 children in 2018, to 14 providers with capacity for 911 children in June of 2023.
  • 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 44 children with high-quality child care in Whitman County so far this year.

Yakima County

  • In Yakima County, the number of child care providers has increased from 335 with capacity for 8,158 children in 2018, to 366 providers with capacity for 8,288 children in June of 2023.
  • 91% 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 295 children with high-quality child care in Yakima County so far this 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
  • Read the legislative brief
  • 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
  • Read the legislative brief
  • 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
  • See the campaign roadmap here

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/