August 25, 2020

Washington’s Child Care Crisis Leaves Nearly 550,000 Children Without Child Care

TACOMA, WA – Aug. 25, 2020 – Thousands of children across Washington are unable to attend licensed child care because our state’s child care system cannot meet the needs of working families. Nearly 550,000 children under the age of 12 have no access to child care, despite the fact that 60 percent of children 0-12 in Washington live in homes where all adults work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced our child care supply even further because some providers have reluctantly closed their doors due to financial difficulty with not having enough children to care for as some working parents are keeping their children home, fear of the virus or actual exposure to the virus. Since March, up to 24 percent of Washington’s licensed child care programs have closed. Currently, 18 percent of our state’s child care programs are closed and not serving children.

Now, as most school districts have moved to remote-learning only, parents are scrambling to create child care plans for their school-age children, but there are even fewer options than there were before COVID-19. For those families that do find child care for their school-age children, they will face the additional challenge of paying for child care during the hours their children would have typically been in school. This is a huge financial burden for middle class families. Child Care Aware of Washington is helping child care providers who want to care for school-age children full-time make necessary preparations, and our Family Center is helping families find child care options for school-age children near them.

“Today’s Child Care Collaborative Task Force report illustrates the depth of Washington’s child care crisis. The supply of quality, affordable child care has not met the needs of our working families for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse as some child care programs have had to make the financial decision to close their doors,” said Deeann Burtch Puffert, chief executive officer for Child Care Aware of WA. “Everyone at Child Care Aware of WA is working to help keep programs that want to stay open, stay open, and connect families to child care near them.”

Nearly half of Washington’s licensed child care providers report they are at risk of closing permanently due to the devastating impacts of the pandemic. The loss of these high-quality programs would significantly hurt Washington’s economy because working parents cannot work when they do not have child care for their children.

Our state’s child care crisis has already cost employers $2.08 billion in direct costs in 2017, and $6.5 billion in direct and opportunity costs, according to the 2019 report, The Mounting Costs of Child Care, from the Washington State Department of Commerce and other member organizations of the state’s Child Care Collaborative Task Force.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has added stress and uncertainty to what the industry assessment revealed was already a fragile child care system,” said Child Care Collaborative Task Force tri-chair Ryan Pricco, director of policy and advocacy for Child Care Aware of WA. “Investments are needed to keep our child care system operating. Investments in the child care industry are investments in all other industries because child care supports all employers.”

Child Care Aware of Washington is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to connecting families to local, high-quality, licensed child care and early learning programs, and to supporting providers who deliver high-quality care. As a statewide network of six regional agencies, we work side-by-side with child care providers, offering professional development services and higher education scholarships to help providers integrate research-based, best practices into their programs. We track child care supply, demand and cost data statewide and in every county. We are committed to ensuring that each and every child in Washington, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, culture, primary language or economic status, has access to the quality care and early learning they need to succeed in school and life. For more information, please visit our website at http://wa.childcareaware.org and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Child-Care-Aware-of-Washington-149636987661/ and on Twitter @childcarewa.

July 15, 2020

State Early Learning & Business Leaders Focus on Child Care Solutions

July 8, 2020 – The Association of Washington Business held an important webinar featuring state early learning and business leaders to discuss child care solutions during these times. Washington State First Lady Trudi Inslee joined Child Care Aware of Washington CEO Deeann Puffert and Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families Secretary Ross Hunter to focus on the importance of early learning and child care to our economy and on the ways COVID-19 has impacted the child care market in Washington.

Child care matters to employees who are parents, and businesses rely on working parents. Most children under the age of six in Washington live in homes where all adults work. Without child care, these employees cannot work. Plus, when young children attend quality child care, they experience great early learning during the crucial years from 0-5 when most brain development happens.

Employers can retain talent, protect their investment in employees who are parents and built long-term loyalty by:

  • Allowing for a great deal of work-schedule flexibility for employees with young children
  • Training supervisors to support employees with young children
  • Allowing employees who can work from home to do so
  • Contributing to employees’ Child Care Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Providing financial support to employees with children and/or to the child care programs that care for their children
  • Share our free child care referral information with families – 1-800-446-1114 https://childcareawarewa.org/families/
  • Using your influential voice to tell elected officials to prioritize funding for child care to boost economic recovery (less than 1% of WA’s operating budget is dedicated to child care)

To learn more or to view the webinar, visit AWB by clicking here.

June 5, 2020

Eradicating Racism is Long Overdue

We at Child Care Aware of Washington are outraged at the murder of George Floyd and denounce the actions of the Minneapolis police officers. We are angry that many peaceful protests against injustice have been marred by further police brutality and we condemn the continued use of violence on people of color.

Child Care Aware of Washington stands with families of color who face the long-lingering impacts of racism and police brutality, and each and every family who opposes white supremacy in all its forms. We remain committed to ensuring that all children and families, especially those who are furthest from opportunity because of systemized racism, have access to equitable, quality child care and early learning programs that shrink the opportunity gap and lead to families thriving economically.

Racism harms all children, mostly and inequitably, children of color. As an organization, we envision a world where children do not experience police brutality against black men as the norm. Institutional racism is unacceptable, has persisted for far too long and we must act. Child Care Aware of Washington pledges to examine our organization and our work and reflect on the ways we contribute to racism and the ways in which we must change. We commit to take action, share our plan with those we serve – families, child care providers, informal caregivers and our partners – and to be held accountable for our progress.

As a first step, we have posted resources for how families and providers can talk with their children about racism. We anticipate building a plan that connects people with community forums, makes space for race-equity conversations, offers advocacy activities and challenges the systems in which we operate. As we build our racial equity action framework we invite you to provide input, share community resources, share your perspectives and join us.

We thank each individual, organization and system who stands with us to say “No More,”, examines their biases and takes action against injustice. Children need our leadership, humility, compassion, honesty, courage and urgency now and always. Eradicating racism is long overdue.

¡Ya no podemos atrasar la erradicación del racismo!

Nosotros en Child Care Aware of Washington estamos indignados sobre el asesinato de George Floyd y denunciamos las acciones de los oficiales policiacos de Minneapolis. Estamos enfurecidos que tantas protestas pacíficas han sido estropeadas por brutalidad policiaca adicional y condenamos el uso continuo de la violencia en contra de gente de color.

Child Care Aware of Washington se alinea con las familias de color que enfrentan los impactos restantes del racismo y la brutalidad policiaca. También nos alineamos con cada familia que está en contra de todas formas de la supremacía de la raza blanca. Nosotros mantenemos nuestro compromiso que todos los niños y todas las familias, especialmente aquellos más lejos de oportunidades a causa del racismo sistemático, tengan acceso a cuidado infantil equitativo y de calidad. Es de suma importancia que los programas del aprendizaje a temprana edad disminuyan las barreras que impiden que los niños y las familias prosperen económicamente.

El racismo daña a todos los niños, especialmente a los niños afroamericanos, latinos, e indígenas. Desde nuestro punto de vista, anhelamos un mundo donde los niños no crezcan con la brutalidad policiaca en contra de la gente negra como lo típico. El racismo institucional es inaceptable y ha continuado por demasiado tiempo; debemos actuar. Child Care Aware of Washington se compromete a examinar nuestra organización y nuestro trabajo para reflejar en las maneras que contribuimos al racismo y cómo podemos eliminar esa contribución. Estamos dedicados a tomar acción, a compartir nuestro plan con aquellos que rendimos servicios – familias y todos los que proveen cuidado infantil y nuestros socios – para poder ser responsables en nuestros logros.

Como primeros pasos, hemos compartido recursos para ayudar a las familias y los proveedores hablar con los niños sobre el racismo. Apoyamos las conversaciones comunitarias y queremos crear oportunidades para conversar más sobre la equidad racial y coordinar actividades para abogacía. Los invitamos a contribuir a la creación de nuestra visión para la equidad racial en todas las áreas que participan en la educación a la temprana edad.

Queremos rendir agradecimiento a todos los individuales, las organizaciones, y los sistemas que se unen a nosotros a proclamar “no más” y en examinar sus prejuicios y tomar acción en contra de las injusticias. Los niños necesitan nuestro liderazgo, humildad, compasión, honestidad, valor, y urgencia, ahora y siempre. ¡Ya no podemos atrasar la erradicación del racismo!

Ciribtirka cunsuriyada waa waqti hore

Anaga oo ah ‘Child Care Aware of Washington’ waxaan ka xunahay dilkii George Floyd oo aan cambaareyneynaa ficilada saraakiisha booliiska Minneapolis. Waxaan ka xanaaqsanahay in mudaaharaadyo badan oo nabadeed oo looga soo horjeedey caddaalad darradu ay ku kaceen naxariisdarrooyin boolis oo dheeri ah waxaanna dhalleeceyneynaa sii wadida adeegsiga rabshadaha ee dadka midabka leh.

Ogeysiiska Daryeelka Ilmaha ee Washington wuxuu la taagan yahay qoysaska midabka leh ee wajahaya saameynta muddada dheer ee cunsuriyadda iyo naxariisdarrada booliiska, iyo qoys kasta oo ka soo horjeedaa sarreynta caddaanka nooc kasta ha noqotee. Waxaa naga go’an inaan hubinno in dhammaan carruurta iyo qoysaska, gaar ahaan kuwa sida ugu dhakhsaha badan uga fursad badan sababa la xiriira cunsuriyadda nidaamsan, ay u helaan helitaan caddaalad ah, daryeel carruureed oo tayo leh iyo barnaamijyada waxbarashada hore ee wiiqaya fursadda farqiga u horseedaya qoysaska inay dhaqaale ahaan ku kobcaan.

Midab-takoorku wuxuu waxyeelleeyaa carruurta oo dhan, badiyaa iyo sinnaan la’aanta, carruurta midabka leh. Urur ahaan, waxaan u aragnaa adduunyo carruurtu aysan la kulmin naxariisdarrada bilayska ee ka dhanka ah ragga madow sida caadiga ah. Midab-takoorka hay’addu waa mid aan la aqbali karin, muddo aad u dheerina waa inaanu tallaabo qaadnaa. Ogeysiiska Daryeelka Ilmaha ee Washington wuxuu ballan qaadayaa inuu baaro ururkeena iyo shaqadeena oo aan ka fekero qaababka aan ugu biirino cunsuriyadda iyo siyaabaha aan u baddali karno. Waxaa naga go’an in aan tallaabo qaadno, oo aan la wadaagno qorshayaasha kuwa aan u adeegno – qoysaska, daryeelayaasha carruurta, daryeel-bixiyeyaasha aan rasmiga ahayn iyo la-hawlgalayaashayada – oo lagula xisaabtamo horumarka aan sameyno.

Tallaabada koowaad, waxaan soo daabacnay ilo sida qoysaska iyo adeeg bixiyeyaasha ay carruurtooda ugala hadli karaan cunsuriyadda. Waxaan rajeyneynaa inaan dhisno qorshe isku xira dadka kulannada bulshada, oo u yeelno meel loogu talagalay wada-hadallada sinnaanta, wuxuu bixiyaa waxqabadyo u doodid iyo caqabado nidaamyada aan ku shaqeyno. Sida aan u dhisi karno qaab-dhismeedka waxqabadka sinnaanta waxaan kugula casuumeynaa inaad dhiibto ra’yi, wadaagto ilaha bulshada, wadaagto aragtidaada oo aad nagu soo biirto.

Waxaan u mahadcelineynaa shaqsi kasta, hay’ad iyo nidaam na garab taagan inuu dhaho “Maya More”, wuxuu baaraa eexyadooda wuxuuna tilaabo ka qaadayaa cadaalad darida. Carruurtu waxay u baahan yihiin hoggaankeena, is-hoosaysiinta, naxariis, daacadnimada, geesinimada iyo deg-degga hadda iyo had iyo goorba. Ciribtirka cunsuriyada waa waqti hore.

May 27, 2020

Investments in Washington’s Child Care System Needed to Prevent Worsening Child Care Crisis

TACOMA, WA – May 27, 2020 – Thousands of Washington’s licensed child care providers report they are at risk of closing permanently due to the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of these high-quality programs would significantly worsen our state’s decades-long child care crisis where demand has exceeded supply, child care waiting lists have been months and even years long and child care professionals have been woefully underpaid.

While recent child care grants resulting from federal COVID-19 stimulus funding may help some programs stay financially afloat during these difficult times, it is becoming increasingly clear that not all child care programs will survive. According to our recent survey of licensed child care providers, 41 percent who responded believe they are at risk of permanent closure, due mainly to the financial impacts of the crisis. Our survey shows that only two percent of licensed providers who responded to our survey were awarded federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and only eight percent were able to successfully apply for and win federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“Washington’s child care providers have financially been hanging on by a proverbial thread for decades. The loss of much of their income from so many children being kept at home, combined with the increased costs of running a child care small business during the pandemic, have forced hundreds to temporarily close their doors. Those that have remained open are struggling to operate on reduced incomes and without personal protective equipment and health insurance,” said Deeann Burtch Puffert, chief executive officer for Child Care Aware of Washington. “Our state must recognize the crucial role child care plays in reopening and sustaining our economy because most parents of young children work. Investments in the child care industry are investments in all other industries because investing in child care allows parents to work and employers to operate.”

Washington’s child care crisis cost employers in our state $2.08 billion in direct costs in 2017, and $6.5 billion in direct and opportunity costs, according to a 2019 report, The Mounting Costs of Child Care, from the Washington State Department of Commerce and other member organizations of the state’s Child Care Collaborative Task Force. The report also found that 36 percent of Washington parents departed from their jobs or schooling due to a lack of access to quality child care.

Child Care Aware of WA’s survey of licensed child care providers reveals that only 49 responding providers applied for and were awarded federal Economic Injury Disaster loans, and only 202 responding providers applied for and were awarded federal Paycheck Protection Program loans. Over 2,500 of Washington’s approximately 5,400 licensed providers responded to our survey. Many programs are applying for new federal CARES Act-funded grants at this time. Our early learning coaches across the state are helping providers apply.

Child Care Aware of Washington is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to connecting families to local, high-quality, licensed child care and early learning programs, and to supporting providers who deliver high-quality care. As a statewide network of six regional agencies, we work side-by-side with child care providers, offering professional development services and higher education scholarships to help providers integrate research-based,

best practices into their programs. We track child care supply, demand and cost data statewide and in every county. We are committed to ensuring that each and every child in Washington, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, culture, primary language or economic status, has access to the quality care and early learning they need to succeed in school and life. For more information, please visit our website at http://wa.childcareaware.org and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Child-Care-Aware-of-Washington-149636987661/ and on Twitter @childcarewa.

April 29, 2020

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is May 8

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is Friday, May 8. This year it is especially important to let your provider know how much you appreciate them. And while it is important to appreciate your provider every day, Provider Appreciation Day 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

As part of our efforts to recognize and appreciate providers, we are collecting provider appreciation videos from parents to share on our social media. If you would like to share your appreciation for your provider in this way, please email us a short, simple video (no more than one minute long) to ChildCareAware@wa.childcareaware.org or message us on Facebook. Your provider could win an Amazon gift card!

Child care providers work very long days, and often are not compensated well. During the current COVID-19 crisis, providers are working extra hard following new guidelines for sanitation and social distancing, while also facing the increased risk of exposure. 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?

#ProviderAppreciationDay

April 14, 2020

Child Care COVID-19 Communications, Response and Referral Center

1-800-446-1114

The Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center has expanded its operations to serve as the statewide child care response, resource and referral hub during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Family
Center, operated by Child Care Resources, will support families seeking child care, child care providers needing up-to-date COVID-19 information and safety supports, as well as employers needing child care
options for their workforce. Our expanded call center can serve callers immediately and in their home languages.

The center takes calls Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and is staff by experienced family service representatives and early learning coaches.

For more information in English, click here.

For more information in Español, click here.

For more information in Somali, click here.

April 3, 2020

Most Legislative Child Care Wins from 2020 Session Spared Governor’s COVID-19-Caused Vetoes

Child Care Aware of Washington commends Governor Inslee and his leadership at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), for not vetoing most child care-related bills or budget investments made during the 2020 Legislative Session. As the Governor has said, “child care workers are a crucial support system in this struggle…they go to work at great risk to their health…”.  Child care educators are putting themselves at great risk to care for children of essential workers, many of whom will be exposed to COVID-19. They are opening their doors for families despite the fact that nearly all of them do not have access to health care, they suffer from poverty wages, and have no access to protective supplies or testing. Ensuring that recent investments, such as increased rates for providing care, expanding the time families with young children experiencing homelessness can receive care at no cost to them, and providing more pathways for educators to meet state standards, will help ensure that not only will child care be there for our essential workers today, but will be there for everyone when we all go back to work!

We thank the Governor and DCYF for making this crucial first step, and we call on all policymakers to do more. So far over  1,000 child care programs have closed due to the pandemic, reducing the state’s total child care capacity by nearly 30%. Most child care programs across the nation are reporting their business will not survive a shutdown as long as Washington is experiencing. Policymakers at all levels of government must do all they can now to ensure that a huge reduction in child care does not prevent our state and country from realizing economic recovery when the time comes.

March 13, 2020

COVID-19 – What Can Child Care Providers Do?

The COVID-19 situation is changing daily. Child Care Aware of Washington is here to support you and the children and families you serve.

K-12 school and workplace closures are impacting children, families and providers. Our Family Center is tracking both provider closures and openings so we can provide accurate referrals to families seeking care. Call 1-800-446-1114 if:

  • Your child care facility closes.
  • Your child care facility has openings. You will be asked about the age(s) you can serve and whether you take Working Connections Child Care subsidy.

Our Family Center is fully staffed and operational. We are ready to assist you and any families that call us seeking care.

Providing school-age child care because many K-12 school districts have moved to remote learning? We can help. Check out our resources for caring for school-age children.

Here are some good resources and potential financial supports that can help child care small businesses.

State

Washington State Department of Health Updated Guidance for Child Care

Washington State Department of Health Behavioral Health Toolbox for Families

Washington State Unemployment Benefits and Paid Leave – COVID-19 benefits for businesses and employees

Layoff assistance – Employment Security Department

Unemployment benefits for employees and relief of benefit charges for employers – additional supports for small businesses

Washington Health Plan Finder – New health insurance available for those without it during a special COVID-19 open enrollment period through Sept. 30, 2020

COVID-19 Paid Family and Medical Leave – Employment Security Department

Washington Business Relief During COVID-19 Pandemic – Washington State Department of Revenue

Grants for small businesses – Washington State Department of Commerce

Possible deferred business taxes and waivers of penalties for businesses affected by COVID-19

Governor’s list of business resources for businesses affected by COVID-19

Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families – COVID-19 Updates – answers to questions regarding subsidy payments, ECEAP needs and more

Washington State Coronavirus Response – multiple state resources, links, information and more

Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction – information about K-12 school closures

Washington Governor Inslee’s Office – latest updates, resources and information regarding disease spread, official instructions and closures

COVID-19 Impacts on Insurance – Office of the Insurance Commissioner

COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants – OneAmerica

Business supports and resources – Association of Washington Business

Small, emergency cash payments to those not eligible for other programs – Department of Social and Health Services

Help for providing meals and snacks in child care during COVID-19 – Department of Health and Department of Children, Youth, and Families – English, Spanish, Somali

Local

Seattle King County Public Health – Recommendations and Implications for K-12 Schools and Child Care

National

Interim Guidance for Child Care Programs – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guía interina para los administradores de programas de cuidados infantiles – Centros para el control y la prevención de enfermedades

American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance on operating child care programs during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans – U.S. Small Business Administration

Paycheck Protection Program – U.S. Small Business Administration

Low-interest loans for small businesses – U.S. Small Business Administration

Guide and checklist for applying for Small Business Administration loans – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Business for All grants – partnership with Verizon

COVID-19 Recovery Fund – Verizon and Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Coronavirus Tax Relief – Internal Revenue Service

Advice for Nonprofits – Nonprofit Quarterly

How to Talk to Children About COVID-19

NPR

PBS Kids

Information About Racial Disparities and COVID-19

Seattle King County Public Health Data

January 15, 2020

Child Care Aware of Washington Wins Grant to Help Count All Children in the 2020 Census

Very young children have previously been among the most under-counted groups in the United States census. With billions of federal dollars dependent upon population, it is important to count everyone, including every infant and child.

Thanks to the Washington Census Equity Fund, our state’s nonprofit community is stepping up to help ensure the accuracy of the 2020 Census. Child Care Aware of Washington recently won a grant from the Equity Fund to help ensure that all of Washington’s youngest children are included. With billions in federal investments dependent on population (Washington received more than $16 billion in federal funds in 2016 based on the 2010 census) it is clear that counting everyone matters.

We look forward to joining dozens of other nonprofits in helping with this important effort. In the coming weeks we will create informational postcards for child care providers to share with families to help them understand the importance of an accurate census count. In the meantime, see who the other grantees are here: http://bit.ly/2QQbJml.