Though it’s less than a year old, the 2021 Fair Start for Kids Act is already lowering the high cost of quality child care for families across Washington state. Despite this progress, many of our families, businesses, and essential early childhood professionals are still struggling.
Together, parents, providers, and employers look forward to partnering with legislators to address workforce compensation once and for all by paying providers for the true cost of care, providing a living wage floor with comprehensive benefits, and offering opportunities for professional and financial growth.
As we continue through the pandemic, we must address the early learning workforce crisis which impacts child wellbeing and the ability for workers across all industries to continue working.
Legislators should use available funding for strategies to recruit and retain new providers to the early learning field.
- Support compensation for lived experience: Work in conjunction with other advocacy groups to compensate participants with lived experience at department meetings and working groups.
- Reduce barriers to workforce recruitment: Reform the background check process with a long-term investment to ensure a 72-hour turnaround for early learning applicants. Support funding background check application and fingerprint processing fees for early learning workers.
- Support the Fair Start for Kids programs that need consistent funding sources:
- $185K for continuing the infant and early mental health consultation.
- $3.1 million for expansion of the Family Friend and Neighbor caregivers statewide.
- Fund data collection on transitional kindergarten: Request a budget proviso that requires school districts to collect key information related to transitional and developmental preschool, prior to further expansion of the program.
- Maintain an enhanced rate for providers: Fund a per-slot, quality support rate for DCYF to provide curriculum and assessment supports to Early Childhood Education and Assistance program providers. ($1.3 million)
- Minimize learning loss among our youngest learners: Fund nearly nine weeks of ECEAP during summer 2022. ($5.9 million)
- Improve educational availability for children: The budget will increase affordable, high-quality, early learning programs by converting a portion of the part day Early Childhood Education Assistance Program slots to school and working-day slots. ($9.3 million)