Local News

Working 4 You: The cost of child care in Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. - According to a report from the Women Helping Women Fund and the Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane parents are paying more for childcare than federal guidelines recommend. 

The report said in families where two parents work, 25% of the median income is spent on childcare for two children under age 5. 

Single mothers would pay between 43-60%. 

The report pulls data from ChildCare Aware and the U.S. Census Bureau to show the average prices, per month, of care in both Spokane County and Washington. 

For one preschooler and one infant, Spokane County parents pay $1,521 a month. The state average is $1,768. 

Daycare facilities statewide cite the rising minimum wage as the reason they need to raise rates. Nancy Clifton, the director at Bethel Christian Preschool and Daycare says their rate for 1-3 year old children is about $872 a month. She said they’ve had to raise the rate because of minimum wage hikes and will likely need to do so again. 

For daycare providers like Bethel Christian, good news comes in the form of demand. Clifton said the daycare is licensed for 49 children and has been full in recent years. 

It reflects a trend in the county’s data. The report states that an estimated 7,884 kids in Spokane County won’t have a ‘slot’ in childcare facilities- a nearly 40% shortage. 

The same data shows that percentage has risen in recent years, from 29% in 2013 and from 38.4% just last year. 

The Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 1344 in April. The law would authorize the Child Care Collaborative Task Force, establish in 2018, to explore possible solutions to child care costs and accessibility in Washington state. The bill asks the task force to look for a way to cap child care costs at 7% of a parent’s income by 2025. 

The bill has been delivered to Governor Jay Inslee. 


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