Washington’s child care industry was in a crisis long before this pandemic. The lack of access to, and affordability of, safe, high-quality child care has been harming our families and limiting our economic growth for far too long.
At the beginning of the year, 63 percent of Washingtonians lived in a child care desert, defined as a community where there are more than three children for every licensed child care slot.
Without child care, many parents drop out of the labor market or work fewer hours. Last year, a report co-authored by the Washington State Department of Commerce determined that in 2017 our state’s employers lost $2.08 billion due to child care issues, and that Washington lost a combined $6.5 billion in opportunity costs.