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Dear Friend,


We all know that learning begins at birth. When babies don’t get what their growing brains need to thrive, this leads to disparities in developmental, educational, social, and health outcomes.

Every baby deserves a strong start, and it’s high time that our state’s policies get aligned with this value. A great opportunity for this alignment is Governor Inslee’s next budget proposal!
Today, child care for a baby in Washington state costs more than tuition at a public college or university. And, our state's child care assistance program is severely underfunded. That doesn’t work for working families!
 

Background:

The decision about who will care for your baby is deeply personal. Every working parent should be able to choose care that works for their family and helps their child thrive. High quality care is hard to find and hard to afford.

Families across Washington struggle to afford the high cost of child care. For some low- and moderate-income working families, Working Connections Child Care helps. It's a state program (with federal funds) that pays a portion of child care costs directly to the provider. But the subsidy reimbursement that Working Connection pays for care, especially for infant and toddler care, is far below the market rate. It doesn't cover the cost of providing high quality care. Many providers can't accept the program, or limit the number of spots for families that use Working Connections. That means fewer options for families and babies.

Low reimbursement rates contribute to the low wages paid to those who do this important work. Over 90% of early child educators (which includes child care providers) are women. Increasing reimbursement rates will help families, support healthy babies, and support gender and racial equity.

Racial inequity in the U.S. reduces the income and the wealth of families of color, especially African-American, Latino and American Indian families. Those inequities are caused both by historical racist policies that denied opportunities for income and wealth, and by current racist policies and practices in education, employment, home ownership, health care and more. Those inequities mean the burden of the high cost of child care sits heavily on working families of color.

We can do better. Every member of our youngest generation deserves high quality, culturally and linguistically responsive early learning opportunities that help them have a great childhood and grow up strong.
 
Governor Inslee—support healthy babies!
Thank you for speaking up for kids and families.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jon
 
Jon Gould
Deputy Director

P.S. We support better state funding of child care for kids of all ages-- we are focusing on babies because it's time to address the great need in this area. Let's make sure all babies get the strong start they deserve! 
 
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