As a member MomsRising, I am writing to urge your support of Senate Bill 5225. SB 5225 will expand access to affordable child care for child care providers, undocumented student parents, and families recently involved in therapeutic court programs. The bill is in Ways & Means and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
MomsRising strongly supports all parts of this bill, but we'd like to draw your attention to the incredible impacts SB 5225 will have on early childhood educators and the families who depend on them.
SB 5225 will allow child care providers to qualify for Working Connection Child Care at a maximum co-pay of $15 a month as long as their household income is at or below 85% of state median income. This is a huge step forward for Washington's early childhood educators.
If you know anyone with a child in child care you know that the system is broken. Families cannot afford care or find any openings in their area. Parents, especially moms, are being pushed out of jobs their families depend on. All this while child care providers are earning poverty-level wages and struggling to make ends meet. We are in the middle of a child care crisis and a huge part of the crisis is workforce: early childhood educators can't afford to stay in the profession.
SB 5225, alongside continued investments in the Fair Start for Kids Act, is a strong first step to keeping dollars in the pockets of child care providers. We need a bold, visionary approach to making early childhood education a profession where teachers thrive, where educators can afford to support their own families, and where talented staff stay and grow. I know we'll get there, and until we do we need policies like SB 5225 alongside funding Working Connections Child Care rates at the 85th market rate percentile.