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.
Prevention Works! Clallam County created an important new video on the state of child care in Clallam County, WA. Many other counties across the state and the entire country are experiencing similar child care issues. We invite you to please share this video far & wide to increase awareness of the importance of child care to our families, communities and overall economy. https://www.pw4kids.org/
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.