Washington state Democrats secure funding to make child care more affordable and accessible

OLYMPIA – Today, the Legislature made major investments in child care and early learning. With passage of the 2020 supplemental budgets, families will be able to better afford child care, more four year-olds at risk of starting kindergarten already behind will have access to pre-school, and child care educators will get additional pay and professional development to make ends meet.

“I visited each early learning region in the state last year and heard loud and clear that our kids, families and businesses need more affordable and accessible child care,” said Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island). “This budget makes significant investments so more kids will be ready for kindergarten, working parents can go to work, and child care providers stay in business.”

According to a recent report published by the Association of Washington Business, nearly half of Washington parents have a hard time finding affordable child care, resulting in Washington businesses losing $2.08 billion a year.

“Investing in our young kids is the best investment we can make in our future,” said Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle). “This budget will make sure that more kids get the early learning they deserve, so they can go on to lead healthy and productive lives.”

The 2020 supplemental budgets allocate $80 million in fiscal year 2021 to:

  • Lower the costs of child care and early learning for low-income families by buying down the Working Connections Child Care copayment.
  • Expand access to child care and early learning by increasing Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) rates.
  • Provide scholarships for child care and early learning providers to make it easier to comply with professional development requirements.
  • Expand access to child care for homeless families.
  • Build more child care and early learning facilities through capital grant funding.

The supplement operating and capital budgets will now go to the governor for his signature.