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Amid a staffing staff turnover rate of 43 percent, better wages and benefits are key to a thriving child care workforce and ensuring families have access to high-quality care, according to a new strategy released by Washington state’s Child Care Collaborative Task Force.

“Child care educator turnover not only makes it hard for a program to keep its doors open — it also undermines children’s development that is supported by consistent, caring adults with training and experience in the field,” said Ryan Pricco, task force tri-chair and director of Policy and Advocacy for Child Care Aware of Washington, in a prepared statement. “This is especially important as parents try to return to work. It’s time to focus on our workforce as the ‘fourth leg’ of the child care stool.”

Pricco said recruiting and retaining workers was a challenge prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and providers say it has become even more challenging over the past year.

As a first step in figuring out creative solutions to increasing staff pay without increasing burdens on parents, the task force stated it will complete its work to identify the true costs of providing high-quality child care. A report on “cost of quality” findings and recommendations is due in November 2022.

The task force strategy also builds on policy improvements and investments made by the legislature earlier this year with the Fair Start for Kids Act and state budget, and outlines several action recommendations. Click here to read the full report.

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