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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

WA could increase incentive for after-hours child care

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Friday, February 16, 2024   

Parents often struggle to secure after-hours child care. Advocates want the Washington state Legislature to increase incentives for businesses to provide this service.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families is requesting funds to increase the bonus to $500 a month for facilities that provide care before 6 a.m., after 6 p.m. and on the weekends.

Alejandra Alarcon owns three Spanish immersion daycare facilities east of Seattle. She said it's hard to find people to work non-traditional hours.

"Handling the expenses and the payroll," said Alarcon, "and all the things that we need to have for running the daycare and can give the service that the families need."

Lawmakers are expected to release their budgets next week. The legislative session ends March 7.

Genevieve Stokes, director of government relations for Child Care Aware of Washington, said parents who work in the service industry -- hospitals or agriculture, for instance -- often struggle to find care for their kids.

"So, that's left a lot of parents scrambling to figure out alternative options," said Stokes, "that might not be what their preferred option would be if they had available, high-quality care."

Stokes said the state has made a lot of investments in child care, but adds the industry is struggling, and full-time care, on average, costs more than tuition to the University of Washington -- which is over $11,000 a year.

"We're in sort of a bind here," said Stokes. "The non-standard hours exacerbates that, but this is true across the board -- that providers can't afford to provide the care, and parents can't afford to pay more for it."



Disclosure: Child Care Aware of Washington contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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