Social Security for Childcare & Early Learning
Providing Affordable Childcare for All
Child care is critical for working families, and universal pre-k is key strategy to reduce the opportunity gap. Yet many families can’t afford the high cost of childcare, which can exceed $10,000 per year. COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis, which created an enormous challenge for child care and early learning programs. Nearly 20% of providers have closed. A coalition of organizations and advocates are proposing significant state investments to stabilize, expand, and improve child care and early learning in Washington state.
Together with childcare providers, parents, and early learning advocates, I’m working for the following investments to make childcare and early learning more affordable and accessible.
- Four-fold increase in state funding for childcare and early learning programs
- Making child care more affordable for low-income and middle class families by expanding the Working Connections Child Care program
- Ensuring every low-income three- and four- year olds across our state has access to our state’s Pre-Kindergarten program, Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP)
- Expanding access to after-school care and programs
- Providing a living wage, health care benefits and accessible professional development to child care providers
- Making capital dollars available to expand and build new child care and early learning classrooms.
A social insurance concept
To fund these investments, we should build on the concept of social security and our state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program, with a more progressive premium payment structure, to raise over $1 billion per year for this very important priority.
In the best of times, access to child care and early learning is a critical strategy to reduce the opportunity gap, provide early interventions to reduce special needs and ensure all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. With the current economic struggles from COVID-19, child care is essential to assist with our economic recovery, support working families, businesses and the economy, and provide care for youth especially as K-12 schools have uncertain re-opening schedules.