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This time of year is full of anticipation and celebration for kids and grown-ups alike. And while the last two years have been unimaginably difficult -- and remain so for many -- there’s a lot of hope on the horizon for families like yours and mine. Why? Because we’re (eagerly!) anticipating action on Build Back Better legislation in the other Washington and we’re (enthusiastically!) celebrating changes from the Fair Start for Kids Act in this Washington. 

That’s right, parents in Washington State are receiving the best gift of all this year: greater access to affordable child care! The state legislative session is just around the corner and we want  legislators returning to Olympia, and administrators implementing the new law, to know that their leadership on the Fair Start for Kids Act is *already* making a big difference for little kids. So, at MomsRising, we’re doing what families for generations have done to express gratitude to their loved ones. We’re sending a year-end holiday letter to legislators and administrators sharing stories of how the Fair Start for Kids Act is bringing joy and stability to families across the state. 

Take action now! Sign on to our holiday letter and express your appreciation. 

I share with my kids frequently about the benefits of gratitude and remind them that when you share with a friend (or a sibling!) that their actions had a positive impact, they’re more likely to repeat the action. The same is true for advocacy! When legislators know that their leadership is making a meaningful difference for constituents like you and me, they’re more likely to continue prioritizing the needs of children and families in the future.

So what exactly has happened over the last year as the Fair Start for Kids Act has been rolled out? Here are just a few highlights for the memory book:

  • More families have access to free or affordable child care through Working Connections Child Care because eligibility has been expanded to families earning up to 60 percent of the State Median Income (for a family of three that’s $51,288 per year and for a family of four that’s $61,056 per year) AND to student parents. The good news doesn’t stop there! Co-payments were eliminated for some families and considerably lowered for others.
  • Child care and preschool providers are receiving increased reimbursement for serving children through state subsidized programs AND they have access to a limited pool of supplementary resources to help meet the complex needs of the children they serve. 
  • Work is underway to better understand all the costs providers incur when they operate a child care program so that we can consider funding models that would pay for the full cost of care in the future. 

A holiday letter wouldn’t be the same without a preview of exciting milestones ahead! There’s a lot left in the Fair Start for Kids Act rollout that we can look forward to over the next decade:

  • Child care assistance will be expanded even more to include families earning up to 75 percent of the State Median Income (that’s $55,560 per year for a family of three and $66,144 per year for a family of four).
  • Eligibility for ECEAP (our state’s PreK program) will expand to include families earning up to 50 percent of the State Median Income (that’s $42,744 per year for a family of three and $50,880 per year for a family of four).
  • Providers will receive enhanced reimbursement for offering specialized care options like dual language learning, infant care, trauma-informed care, and non-standard hours care and they’ll have access to more community-based training opportunities. 

Help us communicate to legislators and administrators how much these changes mean to families by signing onto our holiday letter and sharing what child care has meant to your family. 

In this season of anticipation and celebration, the Washington State MomsRising team wishes you and yours health, happiness, and affordable child care for years to come.


P.S. Want to learn more about how YOU can benefit from the Fair Start for Kids Act? We have a new website with frequently asked questions about getting help paying for child care. Check it out and share it far and wide!

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