Friday, September 30, 2011

"Continuity of care" report now available

A new report on the impact of allowing families longer authorization periods for child care subsidies is now on the DEL website.

DEL contracted with the Washington State University Social and Economic Sciences Research Center to conduct the study, which was required in House Bill 3141.

Most families are authorized for six months at a time for child care subsidies. But HB 3141, passed in 2010, allowed families with children enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start or the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program to be authorized for 12 months. Parents said this allowed for more stability in their child care arrangement and better supported their child’s development.

The study also suggests that moving to 12-month authorizations for more families could save some costs for administering the program.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

National group reports on the cost of child care

The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) recently published its 2011 report on national trends in the cost of child care. Before we discuss that, here’s some background:

NACCRRA is the parent organization for more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral Networks (CCR&Rs), which help parents find child care. Here in Washington, we at DEL partner with the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network to help families find the right child care arrangement for their children. We also partner with the Network to support child care providers in improving quality, through our Quality Rating and Improvement System.
The NACCRRA report presents 2010 data about what parents pay for full-time child care in the United States. The information is split out by several categories, including by region, by age of children being cared for and by child care facility versus family child care homes.

Some highlights of the report’s findings:

  • Child care costs increased 1.9 percent in centers and 1.8 percent in family child care homes from 2009 to 2010.
  • In 40 states, the average annual cost of center-based care for an infant exceeded 10 percent of the state’s median income for a two-parent family.
  • In 36 states, the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college.
  • The 10 least affordable states for child care were Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Montana and Pennsylvania.
  • In Washington, the average annual costs for centers range from $4,650 to $11,450 and for family care homes from $3,800 to $8,650.

The report makes recommendations to help families pay for child care, to improve the quality of care through additional provider training and inspections, and to help CCR&Rs assist providers in becoming licensed.

Related links:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New “I support licensed child care” window decals now available

DEL has produced a new resource in an effort to raise public awareness about the benefits of licensed child care and the resources available to help families choose child care. The removable window clings say “I support licensed child care” and include a link to the online Child Care Check tool, where families can find out more about the history of licensed child care providers.

Child Care Check is just one resource in the search for child care—families should start their search by contacting the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network. DEL also has a guide on how families can choose quality child care.

The window clings were paid for with federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) dollars. To request one, contact your local DEL office.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School’s Out Washington announces Quality Enhancement Grant

School’s Out Washington is now accepting applications for its annual Quality Enhancement Grant, which helps improve the quality of school-age care programs licensed or certified by DEL.

Programs may apply for up to $3,000, and may use the funds for a variety of projects that support improved program quality. Programs serving low-income families, children of color or children with special needs are strongly encouraged to apply and will get bonus points in the grant review process. Applications are due by Nov. 4.

Visit to learn more and apply.

The Quality Enhancement Grant is funded by DEL with federal Child Care and Development Fund dollars.