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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

American Medical Response (AMR) organized a parade of first responders to show appreciation for St. Elizabeth Hospital staff April 30. Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing
The complications of counting COVID deaths in Washington

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Republicans file lawsuit over Inslee’s emergency: ‘Facts, and the science, are clear’

Lawsuit says state has violated Constitutional rights of citizens.

Issaquah City Council, from left: Mayor Mary Lou Pauly, Councilmember Stacy Goodman, Deputy Council President Chris Reh, Council President Victoria Hunt, Councilmember Lindsey Walsh, Councilmember Tola Marts, Councilmember Barbara de Michele, Councilmember Zach Hall. Natalie DeFord/Staff photo
Update: Issaquah takes steps to mitigate revenue shortfall

Staff cuts and other reductions in place will cover over half of the estimated $10 million loss

Issaquah man charged with fraudulently seeking over $1 million in COVID-19 relief

Software engineer sought loans through CARES Act for fictitious tech companies, federal authorities say.

How to report unemployment fraud

The Snoqualmie Police Department and the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD)… Continue reading

One dead in Issaquah shooting

Update: initial investigation suggests shooting was unintentional

Among the candidates for Washington state governor in 2020: (Top row, L-R): Omari Tahir Garrett, Winston Wilkes, Thor Amundson, Cameron Vessey, Martin ‘Iceman’ Wheeler, Ryan Ryals; (middle row L-R): Liz Hallock, Goodspaceguy, Gov. Jay Inslee, Don Rivers, Gene Hart; (bottom row L-R): Phil Fortunato, Tim Eyman, Alex Tsimerman, Cairo D’Almeida, Cregan Newhouse, Raul Garcia.
GOP gubernatorial hopefuls aim to oust Inslee amid COVID-19

Former Bothell mayor Joshua Freed and initiative-pusher Tim Eyman could be the front-runners.

Nonprofit launches new online COVID-19 local resource hub for King County

Hub collects links for more than 300 local resources for people affected by virus.

Most Read