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The 2024 Legislative Session

Washington has spent years building, studying and growing the child care system. In 2024, Child Care Aware of Washington advocated to the State Legislature to invest in further supports for Washington’s children, families and child care professionals.

The State Legislature has made incredible progress and impact in building towards the best child care system in the nation. In 2024, the Legislature continued that work through the following investments:

Operating and Capital Budgets

  • Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation – $1.75 million ($150,000 of this allocated for rural communities)
  • Infant Rate Enhancement – Increase rate to $300 ($5.56 million)
  • Non-standard Hour Bonuses – Bonus increases to $150 ($772,000)
  • Transition to Kindergarten Program (Coordinated Recruitment and Enrollment) – $1.31 million
  • ECEAP Entitlement – Rate increase of 5% for full day and 9% for extended day ($8.27 million)
  • Funding for SB 5774-  Fingerprinting and Background Check – $254,000
  • Early Learning Facilities Fund Expansion Grants – $4.5 million
  • Early Learning Facilities Fund Minor Renovation Grants – $2.35 million

Bills Passed

  • HB 1945: Expands eligibility for ECEAP and Birth to Three ECEAP to SNAP recipients. Also clarifies that income eligibility for Working Connections Child Care is met for SNAP recipients.
  • 2SHB 2124: Expands Working Connections Child Care work eligibility to children of child care providers and children from families participating in ECEAP, Head Start, or Early Head Start.
  • SHB 2195: Directs additional revenue to the early learning facilities grant and loan program.
  • SHB 5774: Funds a minimum of seven DCYF field offices to conduct fingerprinting as a part of the background check process for child care providers.
  • SB 6038: Expands the business and occupation tax exemption for child care services for children under 12 (with exception for children up to age 18 with special needs).

What’s Next?

This year’s success is largely in part to advocates like you. Now that legislative session is over, we need to keep raising our voices about how important early learning is for Washington’s children, families, and communities.  

We’ve made it easy for you to take action and urge your legislators to keep fighting for children in 2024. And long term, we’re building momentum around a campaign to solve the child care crisis by paying providers living wages and making child care affordable and accessible to every family in Washington. 

Now is our time! Join our campaign to stay up to date on future opportunities to make a difference.