Looking to increase the affordability and availability of child care for all Washington families, the Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force has issued a new report and is urging policymakers to keep child care top-of-mind when investing in the economy.

According to the task force, lack of access to affordable child care keeps more than 133,000 potential workers out of Washington’s labor force. The effects ripple through Washington’s economy, resulting in an estimated $14.7 billion less in personal earnings, $56.8 billion less in business output, $34.8 billion lower Gross State Product, and over $1 billion in lost tax revenue annually.

“We must invest in child care as essential infrastructure for strengthening Washington’s economy,” said Washington State Commerce director Lisa Brown in a prepared statement. “Lack of access to quality, affordable child care is forcing more families to make difficult and financially detrimental choices.”

According to the report, recommendations to implement first include, but are not limited to:

Help working parents enter, re-enter and stay in the labor force:

  • Graduate subsidy co-payments to eliminate the “cliff effect”;
  • Shift subsidy eligibility from 200 percent of federal poverty level to 85 percent of state median income; and
    • Allow parents preparing to enter or re-enter the workforce, and parents participating in job training, apprenticeships, and higher education, to receive child care subsidies.