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

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 35 with capacity for 627 children in 2015, to 24 providers with capacity for 499 children in June of 2020.
  • 96% 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 43 children with high-quality child care in Adams County last year.

Asotin County

  • In Asotin County, the number of child care providers has increased from 9 with capacity for 448 children in 2015, to 11 providers with capacity for 534 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 156 with capacity for 3,892 children in 2015, to 131 providers with capacity for 4,480 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 622 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 125 with capacity for 1,844 children in 2015, to 101 providers with capacity for 1,842 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 197 children with high-quality child care in Chelan County last year.

Clallam County

  • In Clallam County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 50 with capacity for 1,072 children in 2015, to 42 providers with capacity for 1,080 children in June of 2020.
  • 85% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 164 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 256 with capacity for 8,689 children in 2015, to 219 providers with capacity for 9,011 children in June of 2020.
  • 60% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,375 children with high-quality child care in Clark County last year.

Columbia County

  • In Columbia County, the number of child care providers has stayed the same from 3 with capacity for 32 children in 2015, to 3 providers with capacity for 30 children in June of 2020.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1 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 50 with capacity for 1,817 children in 2015, to 46 providers with capacity for 2,338 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 198 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 72 with capacity for 1,172 children in 2015, to 62 providers with capacity for 1,019 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 96 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 2015, to 2 providers with capacity for 38 children in June of 2020.
  • 50% 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 Ferry County last year.

Franklin County

  • In Franklin County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 151 with capacity for 2,800 children in 2015, to 132 providers with capacity for 2,814 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 332 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 99 children in 2015, to 1 provider with capacity for 24 children in June of 2020.
  • 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 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 148 with capacity for 2,651 children in 2015, to 138 providers with capacity for 2,685 children in June of 2020.
  • 80% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 150 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 54 with capacity for 1,257 children in 2015, to 50 providers with capacity for 1,281 children in June of 2020.
  • 86% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 123 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 51 with capacity for 1,382 children in 2015, to 39 providers with capacity for 1,415 children in June of 2020.
  • 73% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 126 children with high-quality child care in Island County last year.

Jefferson County

  • In Jefferson County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 12 with capacity for 303 children in 2015, to 7 providers with capacity for 166 children in June of 2020.
  • 57% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 28 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 1,917 with capacity for 60,446 children in 2015, to 2,051 providers with capacity for 71,353 children in June of 2020.
  • 69% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 6,349 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 155 with capacity for 4,947 children in 2015, to 138 providers with capacity for 5,189 children in June of 2020.
  • 57% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 639 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 30 with capacity for 700 children in 2015, to 18 providers with capacity for 713 children in June of 2020.
  • 47% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 25 children with high-quality child care in Kittitas County last year.

Klickitat County

  • In Klickitat County, the number of child care providers has increased from 8 with capacity for 90 children in 2015, to 9 providers with capacity for 167 children in June of 2020.
  • 38% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 13 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 48 with capacity for 1,039 children in 2015, to 39 providers with capacity for 1,206 children in June of 2020.
  • 69% of licensed childcare 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 increased from 3 with capacity for 48 children in 2015, to 4 providers with capacity for 50 children in June of 2020.
  • 33% of licensed childcare 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 last year.

Mason County

  • In Mason County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 38 with capacity for 846 children in 2015, to 29 providers with capacity for 890 children in June of 2020.
  • 75% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 149 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 37 with capacity for 577 children in 2015, to 40 providers with capacity for 683 children in June of 2020.
  • 64% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 36 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 265 children in 2015, to 9 providers with capacity for 233 children in June of 2020.
  • 56% of licensed childcare 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 Pacific County last year.

Pend Oreille County

  • In Pend Oreille County, the number of child care providers has increased from 2 with capacity for 107 children in 2015, to 3 providers with capacity for 127 children in June of 2020.
  • 67% of licensed childcare 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 Pend Oreille County last year.

Pierce County

  • In Pierce County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 577 with capacity for 18,824 children in 2015, to 496 providers with capacity for 20,868 children in June of 2020.
  • 70% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3,213 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 7 with capacity for 205 children in 2015, to 8 providers with capacity for 221 children in June of 2020.
  • 100% of licensed childcare 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 last year.

Skagit County

  • In Skagit County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 113 with capacity for 2,528 children in 2015, to 90 providers with capacity for 2,415 children in June of 2020.
  • 80% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 296 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 2015, to 8 providers with capacity for 209 children in June of 2020.
  • 71% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 10 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 566 with capacity for 15,876 children in 2015, to 489 providers with capacity for 18,544 children in June of 2020.
  • 63% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,681 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 277 with capacity for 10,724 children in 2015, to 245 providers with capacity for 11,357 children in June of 2020.
  • 63% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,266 children with high-quality child care in Spokane County last year.

Stevens County

  • In Stevens County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 18 with capacity for 300 children in 2015, to 16 providers with capacity for 357 children in June of 2020.
  • 53% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 13 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 223 with capacity for 6,718 children in 2015, to 180 providers with capacity for 7,157 children in June of 2020.
  • 75% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,195 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 2015, to 1 provider with capacity for 56 children in June of 2020.
  • 100% of licensed childcare 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 Wahkiakum County last year.

Walla Walla County

  • In Walla Walla County, the number of child care providers has dropped from 50 with capacity for 1,183 children in 2015, to 42 providers with capacity for 1,192 children in June of 2020.
  • 78% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 145 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 120 with capacity for 3,235 children in 2015, to 115 providers with capacity for 3,708 children in June of 2020.
  • 63% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 544 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 29 with capacity for 1,276 children in 2015, to 19 providers with capacity for 1,058 children in June of 2020.
  • 61% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 36 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 382 with capacity for 8,656 children in 2015, to 319 providers with capacity for 7,956 children in June of 2020.
  • 88% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 683 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.

2

State Legislative Session

The 2021 session of the Washington State Legislature begins Jan. 11, 2021. Child Care Aware of Washington’s goal for this session is to encourage state investment to help alleviate Washington’s child care crisis by:

  1. Providing direct, flexible, financial support for all child care programs and caregivers, and providing child care educators with access to health insurance and PPE, and protecting existing child care funding streams.
  2. Expanding assistance for working families so their children can attend child care by reducing copays for families eligible for Working Connections Child Care, providing assistance to families above 200% FPL and expanding supports for families who rely on Family Friends & Neighbor caregiving.
  3. Maintaining or increasing current investments in Washington’s child care system to provide critical support for licensed providers and resources for families to find and afford child care. Investments in child care coaching, resources for families searching for child care, assistance to families with young children who are experiencing homelessness and supporting the mental health of needs of children in child care strengthen Washington’s child care infrastructure and are necessary to keep it operating.

Learn more in our 2021 Legislative Agenda and learn why investments are needed in Washington’s child care system. Also view our two legislative town halls on Supporting Families and Supporting Child Care Providers. Our economic recovery from the pandemic is at risk if our child care supply does not meet demand.

Obtenga más información en nuestra Agenda Legislativa 2021 y aprenda por qué se necesitan inversiones en el sistema de cuidado infantil de Washington. Nuestra recuperación económica de la pandemia está en riesgo si nuestra oferta de cuidado infantil no satisface la demanda.

Wax badan ka baro Ajendeheenna Sharci-dejinta ee 2021 . Ka soo kabashadeenii dhaqaale ee aafada waxay khatar ku jirtaa haddii sahaydeena xanaanada cunugga aysan buuxin baahida.

Find out more on:

Expanding Assistance for Working Families     Providing Financial Support to Child Care Providers     Protecting Critical Investments in Child Care and Early Learning      The Importance of ECE Scholarships

Descubra más sobre:

Ampliando la asistencia para familias trabajadoras    Brindar apoyo financiero a los proveedores de cuidado infantil    Protección de inversiones críticas en el cuidado infantil y el aprendizaje temprano      la importancia de las becas ECE

Faahfaahin dheeraad ah kala soco:

Kordhinta Caawinta Qoysaska Shaqeeya      Bixinta taageero dhaqaale bixiyeyaasha xanaanada cunugga    Ilaalinta maalgashiyada muhiimka ah ee daryeelka ilmaha iyo waxbarashada hore     muhiimada deeqaha waxbarasho ee ECE

Learn how to advocate for child care and early learning:

How to advocate for child care     How to communicate with lawmakers

Aprenda a abogar por el cuidado infantil y el aprendizaje temprano:

Cómo abogar por el cuidado infantil      Cómo comunicarse con los legisladores

Sida loogu doodo daryeelka ilmaha iyo waxbarashada hore:

sida loogu doodo daryeelka carruurta      sida loola xiriiro xildhibaanada

Play and Learn Groups

Many children are cared for by family members, friends, or neighbors (FFNs). Facilitated, evidenced-based play and learn groups provide quality early learning opportunities to thousands of children in FFN care who are not enrolled in formal early learning programs either by family choice, or lack of access, or affordability barriers. Increasing access to play and learn groups can help move Washington closer to its goal to have 90% of children ready for kindergarten when they enter, and support the needs of families and caregivers. To learn more about our multi-year strategy to connect families with expanded Play and Learn Groups in their communities, click 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!

3

Federal Legislative

In December, Congress delivered a down payment on badly needed financial support providing $10 billion for child care. In January of 2021, President Biden proposed an additional $40 billion in child care relief. But, many members of Congress are not sure if communities and families need more support.  Contact your congressmen and congresswomen today to urge their support for additional relief for child care.

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 February 2021. All travel expenses are covered.

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 2021 Parent Ambassadors are now being accepted. If you are interested in this great opportunity, please submit your application by Jan. 3, 2021. Applications and full details can be found on the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP website linked below.

What is the time commitment?

Parent Ambassadors participate in scheduled conference calls and attend five in-person trainings conducted by the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP. The in-person trainings are:

  • In-person Event 1     Feb. 24-25, 2021 – Olympia
  • In-person Event 2    March 19-20, 2021 – Federal Way
  • In-person Event 3    June 30 – July 1, 2021 – Ellensburg
  • In-person Event 4     Oct. 1-2, 2021 – Location TBD
  • In-person Event 5     Feb. 23-25, 2022 – Olympia

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

Ready to apply? Click here 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/