A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo

Report outlines lack of child care in Washington

In King County, supply doesn’t meet demand for child care.

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force formed to address a lack of child care in Washington.

The report was penned by the Child Care Collaborative Task Force, which was formed in 2018 to recommend policies. Its mandate was extended through June 2021, with the goal of creating affordable and accessible child care for all Washingtonians by 2025. The report was delivered by the state Department of Commerce.

To put the issue into perspective, the state had an estimated 1.08 million children ages birth to 12, but in 2018 there was only enough space for around 178,700 children across the state, according to the report. This means there are fewer parents in the workforce, and more missed work, leading to lower productivity and lower economic gains.

Over the last five years, the state gained 3,000 child care spaces, but the population of children younger than 6 grew by almost 30,000, according to the report. There was consolidation too, with the number of child care providers shrinking.

A 2019 study estimated that a quarter of Washington parents with young kids had reduced to part-time work, and 18% quit due to child care issues. Employee turnover and missed work due to inaccessible child care was estimated at $2.08 billion in the state, according to the report.

Racial and ethnic disparities exist too. Last school year, only 40% of children of color arrived ready for kindergarten in the state’s six WaKIDS domains compared to 51% of white children. There’s a disparity of access to child care, preschool, health and other childhood services. Additionally, some 63% of Washingtonians live in a child care desert where capacity doesn’t meet demand.

In King County, child care providers dropped from more than 2,100 with space for 59,316 kids in 2013, compared to 1,939 providers with space for 63,846 kids by the end of 2017. But there are more than 127,500 kids younger than 5 countywide.

The report made 31 recommendations. These included suggestions to stabilize and support the child care workforce, providers and industry, increase employer supports for child care, streamline permitting and licensing and reduce disparities in child care.

The report found that part of the problem is found in the working conditions of child care employees, which are paid less than dog groomers on average. The report shows that early childhood education majors have the lowest projected lifetime earnings of all four-year college graduates.

Last year, 88% of the 529 child care providers in the state who were surveyed said low pay was a major reason it was hard to hire staff. More than 60% said their staff resigned from child care positions due to low pay. The report said offering staff health and dental insurance, retirement benefits, paid time off and other perks could help retain staff.

Less than half of Washington state child care providers said they give any of their employees health insurance, according to the report. Nearly 40 percent of early childhood educators and their families rely on public support programs like Medicaid and food stamps.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

I-5 to close overnight in Federal Way Aug. 28-30

5-mile shutdown for new bridge construction at 70th Avenue East in Fife

Kent, Federal Way men arrested in drug trafficking bust

Reportedly part of 12-member group distributing fentanyl, heroin, meth and cocaine

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

City seeking volunteers for commissions, boards

Applications will be reviewed Friday, Aug. 21.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Courtesy of King County
Latest results for District 30 legislative races

Johnson and Walsh lead for pos. 1; Taylor and Moore lead for pos. 2; Basler will likely challenge Smith for Congress seat.

SKFR engine. Mirror file photo
Voters approve South King Fire M&O levy

The $3.75M levy was approved by about 65 percent of voters.

Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Federal Way to fly flags at half-staff in memory of fallen officers

In memory of Bothell Police Officer Jonathan Shoop and Washington State Patrol Trooper Justin R. Schaffer.

Most Read