May 3, 2019

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is Friday, May 10. While it is important to share your appreciation for your provider every day, this is a special day for making sure child care providers everywhere feel appreciated for the important work they do.

There are many ways to thank your provider and show your appreciation. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have your child make them a special card or a poster
  • Drop off breakfast or lunch
  • Give a gift card
  • Bring a special treat
  • Write a nice note

Child care providers work very long days, and often are not compensated well. For most, child care truly is a labor of love. So please make sure to let your provider know how much you appreciate all they do for your child and family. After all, what would you do without them?


May 2, 2019

Child Care Aware of Washington Play and Learn Group Featured on NW News Network

We are thrilled to have one of our play and learn groups featured in this excellent article from Northwest News Network. Child Care Aware of Washington’s Early Connections Play and Learn group is where young children can experience playing with peers and early learning while their families learn about child development and local resources. Read, or listen to, more here:

May 1, 2019

Modest Gains for Child Care & Early Learning in the 2019 Legislative Session

Child care and early learning advocates and stakeholders saw modest gains this past legislative session that ended April 28. Lawmakers passed and funded several small steps forward that provide some stability for the child care market, but there is more to do to solve the child care crisis.

The new budget provides funding for:

  • Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) rates to be increased to the 55th percentile for Early Achievers Level 3 participants
  • Investment of $6 million into additional supports and professional development for Early Achievers programs
  • 1,100 new ECEAP (state-funded preschool) slots
  • An expansion of Family, Friend and Neighbor play and learn groups
  • The Early Achievers enhancements (HB 1391) and WA CAN Act (HB 1344) bills
  • The addition of 1,200 home visiting slots to increase access to high-quality early learning for families
  • $28.5 million to match private and other public funding to buy, build or modernize facilities to add capacity for early learning programs, including ECEAP and programs participating in Early Achievers

While Child Care Aware of Washington applauds these gains and thanks the legislature for this progress, we did not see significant progress in raising the wages of child care professionals nor in the homeless grace period extension, which would have provided up to 12 months of free licensed child care for young children experiencing homelessness. We will focus on these important goals this interim as we prepare for the next legislative session.

Thank you to all of our partners and to all of the providers and parents who advocated for expanded access to high-quality child care and early learning programs. Your voices made a positive difference for children and families this session.

April 1, 2019

Child Care Aware of Washington Welcomes New Interim Executive Director

Today we welcome Elizabeth Swanson as our Interim Executive Director. She brings nearly 30 years of nonprofit experience to Child Care Aware of Washington, and will serve during the transition as the organization identifies a new Chief Executive Director following the retirement of former CEO Robin Lester.

Liz has served major universities, public and private schools, social service agencies, community organizations and more. She also is an active volunteer and has served in organizations including the Rotary Club of Bellevue, Eastside Baby Corner and the Moyer Foundation. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and is a graduate of Leadership Eastside. Liz currently is a senior associate with the Valtas Group.

Together with the Board of Trustees and staff leadership, Liz will lead Child Care Aware of Washington for the next several months as the group conducts the search for the new CEO. Please join us in welcoming Liz aboard!

February 26, 2019

Robin Lester, Chief Executive Officer of Child Care Aware of Washington, has announced her retirement effective the end of March. Congratulations Robin!

Robin served as the organization’s leader since August 2015 and brought a strong management and legal background to CCA of WA’s mission and work, always focused on positive change for families. Encouraging innovation, Robin advanced the organization’s strategic planning capacity, realized tremendous growth in our services to child care providers and in our family services programs, established Shared Business Services to assist child care providers, and established privately funded projects for Washington’s young children and their families in communities throughout the state. She contributed to the early learning system advocating for improvements and funding for child care programs and by influencing statewide policy on task forces and committees.

“It has been my privilege and great honor to serve as CEO for the last three-plus years. We currently have a dedicated, hard-working and talented leadership team and staff diligently working to ensure that families, children and providers receive quality resources and continual quality improvement for early learning care. I know that as I enter retirement Child Care Aware of Washington will continue to be Washington’s most trusted child care resource and I look forward to seeing the great advancements for children, both in kindergarten readiness and in every day quality early learning experiences.”

October 22, 2018

Child Care Aware of Washington Statement Against Federal “Public Charge” Proposal

Child Care Aware of Washington joins our national children and family advocacy colleagues in denouncing the current federal administration’s proposal to expand the definition of “public charge,” putting the health and safety of millions of children and families at risk. We stand with all parents who seek to provide for their families and lead the way to a brighter future for their children.

Expanding the list of who can be denied citizenship and/or legal residency based upon whether a person accesses, or even may access, government assistance programs, will dramatically increase the number of children and families experiencing hunger, poor health and homelessness. It will also increase the number of very young children who have no access to licensed, quality child care, putting them at risk of receiving poor quality care during this important period of rapid brain development.

Decades of research have proven that young children who experience the trauma of homelessness, hunger, extreme poverty and poor child care face a lifetime of developmental delays that lead to poor outcomes, including reduced graduation rates and employment opportunities, and increased rates of teen pregnancy, addiction and crime.

America’s crucial social “safety net” of Medicaid, housing assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as access to quality, licensed child care, provide vulnerable families with the bare minimum necessities they need to become and remain productive citizens and strong members of our communities. All of America’s children deserve the very best start in life.

Once again, Child Care Aware of Washington calls for a return to human decency in our immigration policies and for a renewed focus on the importance and dignity of every child and family.

October 2018

August 14, 2018

Child Care Aware of Washington Releases Child Care Data for Every County in State – Child Care Capacity Recovery Uneven Across Washington

Child Care Capacity Recovery Uneven Across Washington

TACOMA, WA –Aug.14,2018–Child Care Aware of Washington’s newest data show that while statewide child care capacity is nearing pre-Great Recession levels, the recovery has not been even across the state. Twenty of Washington’s 39 counties still have less licensed child care capacity than they did five years ago, reducing access to child care for families in many regions of the state. Of the 20 counties with lower capacity, more than half experienced double-digit declines.

Read the Full Report