OLYMPIA – Finding solutions to the high cost of childcare has a new ally in state Representative Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, who introduced two bills to take on the issue. Reeves’ legislation creates two new incentives to help families afford childcare and increase worker availability at childcare facilities.
The Childcare Collaborative (HB 2367) establishes a task force to investigate and report on options to incentivize employer-supported childcare, cutting red tapes that holds back construction of facilities, “Bring Your Infant to Work” programs, and improvements in accessibility for geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities.
The CARE Act (HB 2396 – The Working Families Childcare Accessibility & Affordability through Regional Employers Act) incentivizes the recruitment and training of new childcare workers and partners with businesses by:
- Creating a workforce conditional scholarship and loan repayment account that helps recruit new childcare workers,
- Helping childcare workers pay back student loans accrued while pursuing degrees in the childcare field, and
- Creating a public-private partnership for businesses that contribute to a dependent care flexible spending account for employees, which can be used to pay for childcare services by parents.
“Parents are struggling with the cost of childcare, trying to figure out how to get help from friends and family. As a working mom with two pre-school aged kids, I know that struggle,” said Reeves. “Middle class and working families need more options and more flexibility in how they find and pay for childcare. My hope is that lawmakers, businesses, economic developers, and stakeholders that represent children can all come together and help find a long-term solution to addressing these costs.”