As children return to classrooms this fall, many parents in Washington state will be able to take advantage of new child care benefits available to help families afford preschool, after-school programs, and child care. MomsRising is working to ensure all eligible parents and caregivers know about the program and are able to apply for benefits.
Last year, the Washington state legislature passed the bipartisan Fair Start for Kids Act, the largest investment in early learning in Washington state history. The law boosts families’ economic security by helping parents afford the child care they need to hold jobs, while providing much-needed rate increases to help child care providers keep their doors open. The investments are particularly welcome because the pandemic has made it even harder for families to find and afford child care and for providers to stay afloat. The average cost of child care is more than $18,000 per year per child in Washington – out of reach for too many families.
“We all know the challenges that arise when parents can’t access quality care,” said Lauren Hipp, MomsRising National Director of Early Learning and Washington State. “Many are forced to leave jobs. Some fall into poverty. And kids miss out on early learning opportunities that set them up for success. The Fair Start for Kids Act is a significant, positive step toward addressing our state’s child care crisis.”
$51,804 per year for a family of three, or $61,675 per year for a family of four.
To get the word out, MomsRising members across the state are working to ensure every eligible family knows about these benefits.
“MomsRising’s recently formed Fair Start for Kids Brigade is getting the word out about the new benefits,” said MomsRising Campaign Director Mandy Kwan. “We’ve already sent out more than 6,000 handwritten postcards to parents, describing the new law and explaining how it can help their families. Every family deserves access to high-quality, affordable child care. It’s essential for our kids, families, communities, and economy to thrive.”
The Fair Start for Kids Act also limits monthly co-pays to no more than $215 per month for all qualifying families and eliminates co-pays entirely for some – meaning parents can enroll their children in child care for free. Parents can visit www.momsrising.org/childcarehelp to see if they qualify or call the Child Care Subsidy Center at 844-626-8687.
MomsRising.org is an on-the-ground and online grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to improve family economic security, stop discrimination against women and moms, and build a nation where businesses and families can thrive. MomsRising maintains a Spanish language website: MamásConPoder.org. Sign up online at www.MomsRising.org — and follow us on our blog, and on Twitter and Facebook.