WA State invests over $27 million for childcare providers

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with the Department of Children, Youth and Families to give $27.3 million in grants to 253 childcare providers across the state.

The grants will give providers financial assistance for renovations, including roof repairs, COVID-19 safety measures, playground equipment upgrades and other things to help improve the health and safety of the buildings.

Many providers had to push back renovation work due to the pandemic.

“Access to childcare is essential for an equitable economy that provides opportunities for all of Washington’s working parents in every community,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “These investments are a start, but we must do more to remove obstacles and increase availability of quality child care options, particularly for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and for families of children with special needs.”

According to a 2020 report, 500,000 children in Washington did not have access to licensed child care.

Commerce got 946 applicants which requested over $169 million in total funds. Childcare homes will get almost 50% of the funding, representing 2/3 of the total awards given.

“We need to increase access to child care services that demonstrate quality, equity and compassion for families,” said Ross Hunter, DCYF Secretary.  “Safe, healthy and functional facilities are a baseline foundation to that work.”

The Washington State Department of Commerce estimates that over 8,000 children will benefit from the renovations.

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