Senator Murray: “We can—and must—get this plan across the finish line. Because it’s as clear as day that we’ve got to do something big to support child care providers and finally lift the stress of finding and affording high-quality child care off families’ shoulders.”
*** PHOTOS AND B-ROLL OF THE EVENT HERE***
***AUDIO OF THE EVENT HERE***
(Seattle, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, visited a West Seattle child care center, where she outlined her plan to dramatically lower child care costs for working families and help get parents back to work. Senator Murray was joined on Thursday by Deeann Burtch Puffert, CEO of Child Care Aware Washington; Loria Yeadon, President and CEO for the YMCA of Greater Seattle; and Alicia Teel, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
“We can—and must—get this plan across the finish line,” said Senator Murray. “Because it’s as clear as day that we’ve got to do something big to support child care providers and finally lift the stress of finding and affording high-quality child care off families’ shoulders.”
Ahead of President Biden’s visit to Seattle on Friday, she made clear that she’s working hard to pass her child care plan through reconciliation and get it to the President’s desk to lower costs for families, bring up wages for workers, and give parents more child care options—all fully paid for by making the wealthiest pay their fair share. Senator Murray also stressed that her plan won’t just help families—it’ll help the entire economy, because when parents can’t work because they can’t get the child care they need, that’s a problem for businesses across Washington state who are losing workers or can’t hire new ones.
“Child care is about the economy,” said Senator Murray. “Child care is about supporting providers and a workforce that cares for our children every day. Child care is about getting parents—especially moms—back to work. Child care is about lowering costs for families—putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets—as we fight inflation.”
“Across King County, 1 in 4 children are prepared for kindergarten. For kids, these factors can have ripple impacts on lifelong success. Through Early Education and Pre-K access, the Y brings greater equity to learning and future success, kids go on to higher graduation rates, pursue advanced education, secure higher-paying jobs, and are more likely to become homeowners. Another barrier in our region, 51% of White children enter school kindergarten ready as compared to less than 30% of BIPOC youth. Investing in young people, particularly those who are further from opportunity, is key to future economic mobility and breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty,” said Loria Yeadon, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Seattle.
Right now, Washington state’s child care crisis is causing a massive financial strain on working families, forcing parents—and in particular, women—out of the workforce. With the average cost of center-based infant care in Washington state currently at $1,390 a month, families with infants would need to pay more than $16,000 per year on average to cover the cost of high-quality child care. Sixteen thousand dollars is 21% of the U.S. average income for a family of three. At the same time, many child care educators are struggling to make ends meet and staff retention is major challenge for child care providers.