Announcing our Workforce Demonstration Pilot Project Awardee!

Child care workers are essential to ensure our communities thrive, but they remain among the lowest wage workers in the state. That’s why Best Starts is launching the Workforce Demonstration Pilot Project: so child care providers can receive thriving wages and policy makers can more fully understand the impact of financial sufficiency on worker retention and continuity of care in child care settings.  

The pilot project will allocate at least $5 million annually until 2027 to provide a salary supplement to child care providers working with babies and children aged 12 and under in King County.   

We are excited to announce the awardee of our contract! 

Scholar Fund has been selected as the contractor who will design and implement a model to address pay inequities for roughly 1,400 Child Care Providers in King County facing hardships in the current compensation structure.  

In a statement provided by Scholar Fund they said, “Each program we get to be a part of helps us better center long voiced community needs. At our core, our mission is to drive long-term impact through connecting resources and opportunities to community. Our decision to join this partnership was not only because of our dedication to build stronger systems for children and families, but also because the program aligns with our values of centering equity, anti-racism, and collective care.” 

Scholar Fund team. (Photo provided by Scholar Fund)
(Photo provided by Scholar Fund.)

Scholar Fund will partner with King County child care providers and the County to build and promote the pilot project, which will accomplish the following objectives:  

1. Provide additional compensation for approximately 1,400 child care providers in King County 

2. Evaluate the success of this Pilot Project in partnership with child care providers, which includes, but is not limited to collecting data and analyzing:  

  • The connection between increased wages and continuity of care and quality of programming; and  
  • How the child care sector as whole is affected by this pilot project.  

3. Improve retention rates in the child care sector, driven by and grounded in provider voice 

We are 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.    

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.    

We partnered with the City of Seattle to distribute Child Care retention grants that are an immediate course of funding that can reach these 12,000 workers promptly. The $7.4 million that the county and city 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 Workforce Demonstration Pilot Project (also known as the Wage Boost Pilot Project) will evaluate the impacts 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.    

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