State Representative Senn visits local child care providers in Bellingham

Representatives Callan (D-Issaquah), Shewmake (D-Bellingham) and Senn (D-Mercer Island) with child care stakeholders in Bellingham, Tuesday, October 15, 2019.


BELLINGHAM – State Representative Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island, visited local child care providers and stakeholders to hear about the successes and challenges they face in making child care accessible.

As chair of the House Human Services and Early Learning Committee, Rep. Senn is responsible for overseeing critical policies that support children and families. After championing major legislative changes to these policies in the 2019 session, Rep. Senn organized a tour of every early learning district in the state to hear directly from center-based and home-based child care providers, early learning coaches and regional Child Care Aware staff.

“Dedicated child care providers work hard every day to make sure our youngest Washingtonians are well cared for and enter Kindergarten ready to learn,” said Rep. Senn. “Yet, from Mt. Vernon to Vancouver, far too many families struggle to find child care or afford it, and child care providers struggle to make ends meet. This impacts families, local businesses and the economy overall.”

In 2019, the state legislature:

  • Increased the subsidy rates for child care.
  • Expanded professional development opportunities for child care providers.
  • Allocated $28.5 million for the Early Learning Facilities Grant to remodel, repair, expand or build facilities offering subsidized child care.
  • Extended the dates for meeting certain rating and education requirements.
  • Created more small business friendly processes.
  • Eliminated the work requirement for full-time, single, student parents pursuing vocational education who want to access the Working Connections Child Care Program.
  • Initiated a mental health child care consultation program.
  • And more.

“I’m proud of the work we have done this year to increase support for families and child care providers, and want to make sure the word got out about the changes,” said Rep. Senn. “At the same time, I know there is more work to do and I want to hear directly from providers and early learning professionals from across the state about what is working and what is not. I know we all have the same goal of continuing to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care.”

Rep. Senn also sits on the Local Government and Appropriations Committees, and she also serves as co-chair of the Oversight Board for the newly created Department of Children, Youth and Families.