May 5, 2021

Child Care Providers to Be Celebrated by Governor Inslee

OLYMPIA, WA – May 4, 2021 – Governor Inslee will issue a Ceremonial Proclamation this Friday, May 7th expressing his appreciation for Washington’s child care providers, who have always helped power our economy by allowing parents to work, and who have provided exceptional services to their communities during the pandemic. Their work is making it possible for thousands of essential/frontline workers to do their work that serves everyone. Gov. Inslee will sign Washington’s Fair Start for Kids Act during a virtual celebration of providers from 10:30 – 11:30 that morning. Media are invited. Please register here.

Gov. Inslee deemed child care providers essential in March 2020 to ensure that healthcare workers, first responders and other critical workers could go to work. During the past 14 months our state’s providers have struggled to stay open. They have navigated ever-changing health and safety guidelines and COVID-19 prevention strategies, faced financial strain due to having fewer children to care for and higher costs due to increased sanitation needs and cared for school-age children who were learning remotely. Some Washington providers became ill with the virus themselves, and many helped families of children in their care cope with illness and bereavement. Many providers faced all of this without having health insurance. Some even dipped into their personal savings accounts to cover costs so they could stay open.

“I am inviting all Washingtonians to join me in celebrating National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day on May 7th by recognizing the tremendous value child care workers bring to the families they serve as well as to their communities. This past year, thousands of child care workers across the state have been providing care and support to the children of health care workers and other critical infrastructure workers on the front lines of the state’s pandemic response. I’m encouraging parents, families, and employers throughout Washington to join me in celebrating all child care workers on May 7th, National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.”

During the past 14 months, up to 24% of Washington’s licensed child care providers closed, most temporarily due to exposure or potential exposure to the virus, or because they did not have enough children to care for. Providers have experienced an average 47% reduction in enrollment and income during the pandemic due to families keeping their children home and health guidelines requiring lower enrollment to keep children safe. Nearly 30% of WA’s child care workforce was laid off. Additionally, providers struggled to find the essential supplies they need to safely operate. Items such as toilet paper and bleach were nearly impossible to find. Child Care Aware of Washington (CCA of WA) helped supply these essentials for providers and helped thousands of programs by assisting with grant applications, understanding health and safety guidelines and creatively finding ways to support and care for children while also practicing physical distancing.

“Child care providers have gone the proverbial extra mile and more this past year,” said CCA of WA Chief Executive Officer Deeann Burtch Puffert. “We know they deserve extra kudos and celebration on this Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. We hope families and the business community joins us in appreciating these incredible providers who have literally kept us all going during these difficult months.”

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 directly 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 https://childcareawarewa.org/ and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Child-Care-Aware-of-Washington-149636987661/ and on Twitter @childcarewa.

April 30, 2021

Child Care Aware of Washington Statement On President Biden’s Universal Preschool Plan

The early childhood investments included in President Biden’s American Families Plan have the potential to be transformative for America’s children, families and child care providers. The United States has long lagged other developed countries in our investments in families and children, particularly our youngest children. The American Families Plan has the potential to move us forward, at last.

In Washington State, our child care and early learning system has invested for years in a robust quality improvement program so that licensed child care programs deliver what many used to consider separate “preschool” services. In quality child care programs, play-based early learning happens every day, all day, so that parents and guardians can work while their youngest children are safe and learning in nurturing environments.

Child Care Aware of Washington urges the Biden administration to consider that traditional preschool that operates only a few hours per day will not meet the needs of a majority of American families, most of whom have all adults working. Working families need quality, reliable, full-day, year-round child care in their communities that emphasizes early childhood education and social-emotional learning.

We highly recommend that full-day, full year universal preschool options should be offered through the existing licensed child care system. In cases where programs also serve children ages 0 – 3 there should be additional investment so that families can find care for all children under the age of 5 in the same program. A free, universal system of care for preschool age children should not pull those children from existing child care programs to be cared for in a single preschool-focused system making it difficult for families with multiple children to get their care needs met in one place. Child care for infants and toddlers is more expensive to provide and is already the most difficult to find. Removing “preschool” to another system of delivery will further erode access to 0 – 3 care because preschool income frequently subsidizes 0 – 3 financial losses.

A majority of Washington’s child care programs have stayed open to provide care to frontline workers during the pandemic; we cannot leave them behind if a free universal preschool option results in moving the children they care for to another program. We welcome investments and actions that will allow America to increasingly become a country where all children and families are valued and provided with the opportunities that meet their real-life challenges of balancing work and family life.

April 29, 2021

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is May 7

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is Friday, May 7. This year it is especially important to let your provider know how much you appreciate them and the essential 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 a meal
  • 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. During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, providers have been working extra hard supporting their communities, providing nurturing care to children during challenging times, helping school-age children with remote learning, following new health and safety guidelines and teaching children how to stay physically distanced, all while facing the risk of exposure to the virus. 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

Employers – what would your employees who are parents do without child care? Share this letter with them to remind them to appreciate their child care provider on May 7, Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. Thank you!

March 18, 2021

Child Care Aware of Washington Stands With Asian Communities

Child Care Aware of Washington stands with Asian communities and all families of color who face the long-lingering impacts of racism and police brutality. We remain committed to ensuring that all children and families, especially those who are furthest from opportunity because of systemic racism, have access to equitable, quality child care and early learning programs that lead to thriving families, caregivers, providers and communities.
Child Care Aware of Washington condemns the horrific murders in Atlanta, as well as recent anti-Asian hate crimes in our own communities and we are outraged that, once again, racism has led to deaths. The fact there has been such harm to Asian people, demonstrates once more that racism in all its forms must stop.
We condemn the racial hatred espoused by individuals and hate groups that too often use inexcusable violence. We oppose white supremacy in all its forms. Rhetoric that dehumanizes people is unacceptable always, and we abhor the violence too many people of color have experienced.
Read our equity statement here.

March 2, 2021

We Are Ready to Support WA’s Efforts to Vaccinate Child Care Providers

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.

January 29, 2021

New Video Highlights Child Care Crisis in Clallam County

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/

January 12, 2021

New Child Care Collaborative Task Force Report Outlines Multiple Options for Strengthening WA’s Child Care System

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.

January 11, 2021

Resources for Child Care Providers and Families – Supporting Each Other After the Attack on Our Capitol

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

CNN – tips for conversations with children about the attack on the Capitol

Washington State Department of Health – list of hotlines and chatlines for mental health and suicide prevention

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.

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.