I hear from parents in Seattle that pay as much or more than a year’s tuition at UW for childcare. The data show us that safe, stable early learning environments from ages 0-4 improve outcomes across the lifespan. If we focus only on expanding pre-K, at the expense of affordable childcare, it can increase costs of infant and toddler care, reduce stability of a child’s environment, and reduce play-based learning for 4 year olds. Universal childcare policies are proven to help moms get back to work, have positive public health impacts, and if done right, can provide stable careers.

We have a plan that will reduce costs, help more people start and run their own childcare centers — paying family wage jobs and helping close our unacceptable wage gap, and partner with businesses to help make childcare more affordable for all of us.

Reduce Barriers and Costs for Childcare Owners

  • Allow childcare centers, libraries, and corner stores on the same block in all residential zones
  • Exempt childcare centers with good transit access from employee parking regulations
  • Simplify permitting process and reduce permit costs for new childcare facility owners
  • Re-examine outdoor play area requirements in context of a more urbanized environment

Require Large Businesses to Pay Their Fair Share

  • Require large businesses to fund a number of slots scaled to their number of employees
  • This policy will increase the amount of affordable childcare available for low-wage workers and help employees of each business get priority access to a set percentage of slots
  • This also provides “slot stability” for childcare providers by stabilizing their revenue and, thus, stabilizing hiring.

Support Childcare Workers

  • Close the racial- and gender- pay gap by protecting caregiving careers, like childcare, which are disproportionately jobs held by womxn of color and immigrant womxn.
  • Support worker-led training programs, like the Imagine Institute, which provide multi-lingual certifications to help workers keep up with professional certifications in a supportive, professional environment
  • Fund expansion of ImagineU trainee/mentor program to expand the unionized childcare workforce
  • Work with community colleges to expand the number of classes available in languages like Spanish and Somali so highly-skilled childcare workers can get certified to own their own childcare centers regardless of a language barrier in training