Advocacy

High-quality child care helps whole communities. Children excel, families earn more and businesses retain great employees.

Take Action for Kids

90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years and creates a million new neuronal connections each second.1 Early learning has a lasting impact.

Children who receive high-quality child care:

33%

more pay earned

over their lifetime 2

30%

more likely

to graduate from high school 3

70%

less likely

to be arrested for a violent crime 4

The Struggle for High-Quality Care

With infant care costing over $1,000 a month, child care can be a family’s biggest expense. Yet child care providers often live in poverty. Why?

Child care is very labor-intensive. Wages stay low because families can’t pay more. The gap between what it costs to provide high-quality care and what families can afford is worsened by low child care subsidies. In Washington state, subsidies cover only about a third of the cost of a high-quality program. Learn more about how low state reimbursement rates affect child care.

Learn why high-quality child care matters with this video.

1

State and Local Data

Child Care Aware of Washington provides thorough and independent information and support to assist:

  • Families seeking quality child care
  • Child care programs seeking to improve quality
  • Policy makers

Click on the counties below to get county-specific child care data, including data on kindergarten readiness, child poverty and the percentage of children under age six living in homes with all adults working.

Adams County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 36 to 32 licensed providers, reducing capacity by nearly 50 children.
  • 88% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 32 children with high-quality child care in Adams County last year.

Asotin County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 10 to 9 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 15 children.
  • 67% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 14 children with high-quality child care in Asotin County last year.

Benton County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 156 to 141 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 385 children.
  • 71% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 692 children with high-quality child care in Benton County last year.

Chelan County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 134 to 111 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 158 children.
  • 92% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 184 children with high-quality child care in Chelan County last year.

Clallam County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 52 to 46 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 144 children.
  • 80% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 132 children with high-quality child care in Clallam County last year.

Clark County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 270 to 240 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 380 children.
  • 61% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1274 children with high-quality child care in Clark County last year.

Columbia County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 3 to 4 licensed providers, increasing capacity by 8 children.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3 children with high-quality child care in Columbia County last year.

Cowlitz County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 67 to 47 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 40 children.
  • 65% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 133 children with high-quality child care in Cowlitz County last year.

Douglas County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 79 to 68 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 11 children.
  • 82% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 122 children with high-quality child care in Douglas County last year.

Ferry County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has remained the same at 1 provider with capacity for 12 children.
  • 100% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.

Franklin County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 174 to 150 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 25 children.
  • 88% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 352 children with high-quality child care in Franklin County last year.

Garfield County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 1 to 2 licensed providers, increasing capacity by 60 children.
  • 100% of licensed child care providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.

Grant County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 157 to 145 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 12 children.
  • 83% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 198 children with high-quality child care in Grant County last year.

Grays Harbor County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 60 to 49 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 131 children.
  • 88% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 123 children with high-quality child care in Grays Harbor County last year.

Island County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 54 to 45 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 90 children.
  • 69% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 131 children with high-quality child care in Island County last year.

Jefferson County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 9 to 7 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 49 children.
  • 57% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 19 children with high-quality child care in Jefferson County last year.

King County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 2,137 to 1,939 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 4,530 children.
  • 67% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 6,926 children with high-quality child care in King County last year.

Kitsap County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 146 to 147 licensed providers, however reducing capacity by 235 children.
  • 57% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 486 children with high-quality child care in Kitsap County last year.

Kittitas County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 28 to 23 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 39 children.
  • 52% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 66 children with high-quality child care in Kittitas County last year.

Klickitat County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 8 to 10 licensed providers, increasing capacity by 57 children.
  • 56% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 11 children with high-quality child care in Klickitat County last year.

Lewis County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 54 to 46 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers grew by 151 children.
  • 71% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 129 children with high-quality child care in Lewis County last year.

Lincoln County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 2 to 7 licensed providers, increasing capacity by 17 children.
  • 60% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 4 children with high-quality child care in Lincoln County last year.

Mason County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 41 to 32 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 43 children.
  • 76% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 144 children with high-quality child care in Mason County last year.

Okanogan County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 42 to 34 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 123 children.
  • 74% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 54 children with high-quality child care in Okanogan County last year.

Pacific County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has remained the same at 11 providers, however reducing capacity by 2 children.
  • 64% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 21 children with high-quality child care in Pacific County last year.

Pend Oreille County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 4 to 2 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers remained at 107 children.
  • 67% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 2 children with high-quality child care in Pend Oreille County last year.

Pierce County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 621 to 532 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 30 children.
  • 69% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 3,250 children with high-quality child care in Pierce County last year.

San Juan County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 7 to 6 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 20 children.
  • 100% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1 child with high-quality child care in San Juan County last year.

Skagit County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 122 to 97 licensed providers, while the capacity of the remaining providers children.
  • 87% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 265 children with high-quality child care in Skagit County last year.

Skamania County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has stayed the same with 5 providers and capacity for 91 children.
  • 80% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 2 children with high-quality child care in Skamania County last year.

Snohomish County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 611 to 506 licensed providers, while the remaining providers capacity grew by 938 children.
  • 61% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,633 children with high-quality child care in Snohomish County last year.

Spokane County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 307 to 284 licensed providers, while the remaining providers capacity grew by 831 children.
  • 66% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1,280 children with high-quality child care in Spokane County last year.

Stevens County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 17 to 14 licensed providers, while the remaining providers capacity grew by 240 children.
  • 72% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 20 children with high-quality child care in Stevens County last year.

Thurston County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 243 to 201 licensed providers, while the remaining providers capacity grew by 831 children.
  • 66% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 1237 children with high-quality child care in Thurston County last year.

Wahkiakum County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has remained the same with 2 providers and capacity for 54 children.
  • 67% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 4 children with high-quality child care in Wahkiakum County last year.

Walla Walla County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 56 to 52 licensed providers, while the remaining providers capacity grew by 39 children.
  • 79% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 170 children with high-quality child care in Walla Walla County last year.

Whatcom County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 133 to 109 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 113.
  • 71% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 541 children with high-quality child care in Whatcom County last year.

Whitman County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has increased from 23 to 25 licensed providers, increasing capacity by 192 children.
  • 62% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 42 children with high-quality child care in Whitman County last year.

Yakima County

  • In the past year the number of licensed child care providers has dropped from 416 to 336 licensed providers, reducing capacity by 494.
  • 89% of licensed childcare providers in the county are enrolled in Early Achievers, which helps providers enrich their early learning programs.
  • Child Care Aware of Washington helped match 799 children with high-quality child care in Yakima County last year.

To open the reports, you must have Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, please click here to download a free copy.

For information about how Child Care Aware of Washington uses child care provider data, click here.

If you have any questions about the data reports, please contact Karen Sampson at karen@wa.childcareaware.org.

2

State Legislative Session

The 2019 Washington State Legislature ended April 28. Child care and early learning providers and proponents saw modest gains as lawmakers passed and funded several small steps forward that provide some stability for the child care market. Yet there is more to do to solve Washington’s child care crisis.

Some of the legislative steps forward include:

  • Working Connections Child Care subsidy rates will be increased to the 55th percentile for Early Achievers Level 3 participants
  • An investment of $6 million into additional supports and professional development for Early Achievers programs
  • 1,100 new ECEAP (state-funded preschool) slots
  • An expansion of Family, Friend and Neighbor play and learn groups

Washington’s Child Care Providers Under Tremendous Strain

Our child care provider survey on the impact of WA’s minimum wage increase shows that child care providers across the state are facing tough times and making tough choices. The impact is greater due to low state subsidy reimbursement rates and the long-term effects of the Great Recession. Learn more about the impact of low reimbursement rates here. Haga clic acqí para obtener información de impacto de las bajas tasas de reembolso.

Play and Learn Groups

Many children under the age of five in Washington are cared for by family members, friends, or neighbors (FFNs). Facilitated play groups provide quality early learning opportunities to thousands of children in FFN care who are not benefiting from formal early learning programs. Increasing access to play groups can help move Washington closer to its goal to have 90% of children ready for kindergarten when they enter. To learn more about our multi-year strategy to connect families with expanded Play and Learn Groups in their communities, click here.

What You Can Do

It is never too early or too late to let your legislators know you support state investment in high-quality child care and Early Achievers, and in increasing the reimbursement rates paid to providers who accept children on state subsidies/Working Connections Child Care.

Take Action!

3

Federal Legislative

The Child Care for Working Families Act, introduced in Congress by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott, would help ensure that every family needing child care has access to high-quality, affordable programs. You can help support the Child Care for Working Families Act by contacting your federal representatives and telling them you support high-quality and affordable child care for American families. Click here to visit Child Care Works and make your voice heard. Read our statement in support of the Child Care for Working Families Act. Lea nuestra declarción en apoyo de la Ley de Cuidado Infantil para Familias Trabajadoras.

4

Parent Ambassadors

Attention parents! Become a Parent Ambassador and make a real difference in the lives of children!

Parent Ambassadors learn advocacy, leadership, communications and engagement skills to become strong voices for young children and families in our state. They advocate and teach others about the importance of high-quality child care and early learning programs that benefit young children and help close the opportunity gap. Ambassadors receive training and support to become effective advocates and leaders. If selected, you will serve a one-year term that begins in March. All travel expenses are covered.

Being a Parent Ambassador is an outstanding opportunity to join a community of advocates who care passionately about expanding access to high-quality child care and early learning programs so that more families can benefit.

Applications for 2019 Parent Ambassadors are now being accepted. If you are interested in this great opportunity, please submit your application soon. Applications and full details can be found on the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP website linked below.

What is the time commitment?

Parent Ambassadors participate in scheduled conference calls about twice a month in the evenings as well as attend four in-person trainings conducted by the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP. The in-person trainings are:

  • Feb. 19 – 21, 2019, Red Lion Hotel, Olympia
  • March 11 – 13, 2019 Dumas Bay Center, Federal Way
  • June 24 – 26, 2019 Central Washington University, Ellensburg
  • Oct. 22 – 24, 2019 Davenport Hotel, Spokane

Learn More at the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP

State Trends At-A-Glance

Fewer Providers

Larger Population

Rising Child Care Costs

The number of family child care providers dropped 20% in 5 years, with larger child care centers adding some capacity. While the decline in family child care providers has recently stabilized, some counties are continuing to see declines.

Washington’s population grew by more than 400,000 in 5 years, while the capacity of child care providers grew by just 3,000 children.

Washington ranks 3rd in the nation for least affordable child care for an infant in a family child care program. The average cost to have an infant in a child care center is 15.4% of median income for a married couple and a daunting 51.5% of median income for a single mother. While median household incomes have increased 5% since 2010, median child care rates have increased between 13-20% for center-based care and 11-31% for family child care.

Child Care Aware of Washington provides thorough and independent information for effective policy making.

  1. Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Developmenthttps://developingchild.harvard.edu/.
  2. National Institutes of Health “The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development,” https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/seccyd/
  3. First Five Years Fund Invest in Us Report 1. National Institutes of Health “The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development,” https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/supported/seccyd/
  4. High Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 4: https://highscope.org/perrypreschoolstudy/