A new effort has launched, hoping to raise $10 million to expand access to child care for Washington’s working families, particularly families of color and those living in rural, remote areas.
The All In WA Child Care Initiative already has support from some names you’ll recognize: Russell Wilson and Ciara, Melinda Gates, the Ballmer Group and Puget Sound Energy, to name just a few.
Money raised will, in many cases, help make ends meet for child-care businesses that have particularly struggled during the coronavirus pandemic. Funds will help subsidize care and buy supplies and equipment to meet COVID-19 guidelines.
“The pandemic has intensified long-existing inequities that threaten the health, livelihoods, and security of countless families,” said Jan Dosh, with Child Care Aware of Central Washington. “The impacts of COVID-19 have also increased the risk of closures and layoffs – an alarming fact given over half of licensed family child care owners in Central and Eastern WA are women of color.”
Advocacy group Child Care Aware reports that COVID-19 social distancing rules led to a statewide 47% drop in child-care enrollment, with an estimated 16% of providers shutting down and another 48% saying they’re at risk of closing; some 44% of the child-care workforce has been laid off or furloughed.
“The Child Care Initiative will help rebuild our child care industry – with an eye to helping BIPOC families and child care providers who have been systemically impacted by support gaps,” said Deeann Burtch Puffert, CEO of Child Care Aware of Washington.
The Child Care Initiative is hosted by Seattle Foundation and All In WA, a coordinated, statewide relief effort to support workers and families affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pledged to match individual donations up to $1 million per unique donor.
Beginning Dec. 7, the initiative will accept applications for grants from licensed child-care centers serving high concentrations of children of color, with a focus on rural and remote communities.