Child Care Aware of Washington is ready to support our state’s efforts to vaccinate Washington’s child care providers, most of whom have worked tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic to keep their doors open to serve children of essential workers and working parents. Since the pandemic began, we have been raising the needs of the provider community and implementing practical solutions to keep these essential programs operating safely. Today’s directive from President Biden gives us hope that our willingness to support efforts to ensure the vaccination of thousands of child care professionals will be tapped sooner rather than later. This support could include outreach to providers with clear communications about their vaccine options, offering spaces and support staffing for pop-up vaccination clinics and collaboration with partners who share the same goal – making sure Washington’s child care providers and the children and families they care for stay safe during these challenging times.
Washington’s lawmakers have numerous options to help strengthen our state’s child care system, according to a new report by the Child Care Collaborative Task Force. The options include financial relief for child care providers, support for working parents and ways to offer health insurance to providers who do not have it.
Child care has always been crucial to Washington’s economy, and now, as the arrival of new vaccines allow us to begin to recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic, it is more important than ever. Yet the child care system in Washington and across the country has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. Last year, up to 24% of licensed child care programs were closed. Currently, 14% of our licensed providers are closed, some of them permanently.
“This year, we have seen the child care industry demonstrate its value and resilience despite an inherently flawed model. Child care delivers a public good through, primarily, small businesses that cannot charge customers (working families) the price necessary to cover costs associated with the essential service provided. High-quality child care promotes healthy childhood development, lets parents go to work and helps employers retain talent and maintain productivity. Families, employers and our state’s economy recovery require a stable and multifaceted child care industry with options to meet families’ varying needs.” ~ Child Care Collaborative Task Force “2020 Child Care Policy Recommendations: Modeling the Cost of Quality, Improving the Working Connections Subsidy Program & Supporting Workforce Compensation and Development” report
You can read the Task Force report here.
The recent attack on America’s Capitol has shocked thousands, leaving us and our children with strong and difficult emotions. How can the important caregivers in children’s lives best talk about what happened and the emotions that have followed? We have cultivated this list of helpful resources and tips so we can safely navigate these very challenging times.
National Association for the Education of Young Children – multiple resources for supporting young children and families
Child Mind Institute – ways to talk with children about the violence at the Capitol
Teaching Tolerance – ways educators can support students after violence and disasters
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network – specific steps families can take to reduce the negative impact of violence in the Capitol on children
American Psychiatric Association – common reactions to trauma in adults and children and lists of supports for both
Washington State Department of Health – list of hotlines and chatlines for mental health and suicide prevention
Child Care Aware of Washington was recognized Nov. 19 by the Association of Washington Business as the 2020 recipient of the Washington Advance Award. The award recognizes a Washington state business or organization that has had a significant impact in their sector contributing to the advancement of their community and/or the statewide economy. The award was presented virtually during AWB’s Evening of Excellence online gala. This is the first time Child Care Aware of WA has been recognized by the business community.
While we are thrilled to have won this award, we acknowledge that the real heroes for the business community are the child care providers across our state who care for the children of working parents every day. During the pandemic, Washington’s child care providers have been deemed essential by Governor Inslee. Their crucial work makes it possible for working parents to work, so businesses can keep operating, and at the same time, they also are contributing to the development of our future workforce by providing important play-based early learning.
“All of us at Child Care Aware of Washington are deeply honored to have our contributions acknowledged by the Association of Washington Business. We appreciate AWB’s recognition of the important role quality child care plays in keeping our economy going, especially during these challenging times. We share this award with all of Washington’s child care providers whose work with children is keeping medical facilities, groceries, utilities and so much more available for all of us,” said Deeann Burtch Puffert, Chief Executive Officer of Child Care Aware of WA.
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
All child care professionals in Washington are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. WA COVID Vaccine Finder is a good place to find vaccination appointments.
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.
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 – Health insurance
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
- City of Seattle
- City of Spokane – multiple resources for small businesses
Interim Guidance for Child Care Programs – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Newly updated March 1
Guía interina para los administradores de programas de cuidados infantiles – Centros para el control y la prevención de enfermedades
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans – 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
Advice for Nonprofits – Nonprofit Quarterly
How to Talk to Children About COVID-19
Information About Racial Disparities and COVID-19
CCA of WA’s new CEO Deeann Puffert recently participated in a Puget Sound Business Journal Thought Leader conversation in Seattle about the importance of child care to our economy. The event also featured former state representative Kristine Reeves (who championed child care in the state legislature and is now running for Congress in the 10th District), Amy Anderson, government affairs director at the Association of Washington Business, and Jasmine Donovan, president of Dick’s Drive-In.
Thought Leader Forums are designed to increase awareness of important business and economic issues. The child care event focused on Washington’s child care crisis and on ways to solve it. It is clear that Washington’s employers have a key role to play in helping increase the supply of licensed child care, and they are beginning to realize how the child care crisis is directly impacting their bottom lines. We extend our thanks to the Puget Sound Business Journal for focusing on this important economic issue.
Washington employers interested in making a difference for their employees who are parents, and for their next generation of employees, can visit the Employers section of our website here https://childcareawarewa.org/employers/ for ideas on what to do.