Well before and continuing through the challenges of the pandemic child care workers have been essential to keeping our communities functioning.
But child care workers remain among the lowest wage workers in Washington, making roughly $9 less per hour than the median worker, hovering around minimum wage
In June Best Starts partnered with Seattle and announced our plan to distribute $7.4 million to child care workers in the form of one-time retention payments. We hoped to reach a large majority of workers, and are excited to report we reached about 90 percent of providers in the county, representing 12,000 workers who will receive a one-time payment between $400 and $500. Those payments will be going out August through September. We’re so excited and grateful to be developing extensive relationships with providers across the county.
Media Coverage of the child care payment reach:
- King 5, Thousands of King County child care workers will receive one-time bonus of up to $500
- KUOW, Lots of jobs, no workers
- KIRO 7, More than 12,000 King County child care workers to receive payments of up to $500
- MyNorthwest, 90% of child care workers applied to receive $500 bonus from King County
We will be resourcing the child care sector in multiple ways
Best Starts for Kids has been looking at a number of areas we can dedicate resources toward child care that will help our babies, children, families and communities thrive.
The Child Care retention grants are an immediate course of funding that can reach these 12,000 workers promptly. The $7.4 million that the county and city have pulled together is a way to offer immediate relief to workers in an essential sector that has faced a crisis of attrition due to low wages in hazardous conditions. Funding is also intended to incentivize staff retention and continuity of care for kids in child care.
Best Starts for Kids Child Care Subsidy Program will reach families who need but can’t otherwise access other child care subsidies. We recognize that Black, brown, and Indigenous families, immigrant families, and families who are multilingual have inequitable access to child care and subsidies. This focused subsidy is a measure to broaden access so more families can have access to sustainable child care.
King County is also looking at the impacts of wage boosts to child care workers. Best Starts for Kids is creating a Child Care Workforce Demonstration Pilot Project (also known as the Wage Boost Pilot Project) with evaluation to determine the impact of a salary supplement for approximately 1400 King County child care providers until 2027.
These combined efforts will work most effectively in partnership with other jurisdictions, and state and federal investments.