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.

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.

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.

September 12, 2019

Child Care Aware of Washington Opposes Cuts to Military Child Care Programs to Fund Border Wall

Child Care Aware of Washington joins our national children and family advocacy colleagues in opposing the current federal administration’s plan to take funding from previously approved and funded military child care projects to help pay for a wall along our southern border. Military families at all of our bases deserve safe, clean and enriching early learning environments for their young children when their parents are working and/or deployed.

While there are no plans at this time to cut child care programs at bases in Washington, Child Care Aware of Washington believes all military families at all of our bases deserve high-quality child care programs for their young children. When military families cannot find safe, high-quality care, they must either choose more expensive licensed care off-base, resort to potentially unsafe unlicensed child care, or even forgo the income of one working parent altogether by deciding that one parent should exit the workforce. Military families invest their lives in keeping our country safe, and our country should ensure that their children are safe and thriving in high-quality child care programs.

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.

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