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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid; Report: SD ethanol plants release hazardous air pollutants; Report: CA giant sequoia groves in peril after megafires.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

WA makes child-care investments, but more needed

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Thursday, March 14, 2024   

Advocates for accessible child care saw wins during Washington state's legislative session this year but still see room for improvement.

Lawmakers invested in a number of programs to increase funding for child care providers.

Genevieve Stokes, director of government relations for Child Care Aware of Washington, said the state is building a foundation for universal access for families.

"The investments this year were modest but still really tackled some of the crucial things that we were hoping they would look at," Stokes acknowledged.

Some of the investments include $1.75 million for free infant and early childhood mental health consultations, more than $8 million for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, and nearly $7 million in additional grant money for capital improvements for early learning facilities.

However, Stokes emphasized gaps remain.

"The funding this year and the funding so far doesn't address the child care crisis for middle-income families," Stokes noted. "And it doesn't solve the issue of child care providers not being able to make a living wage."

Stokes added not finding care puts parents in a bind and impacts the economy.

"When parents can't find child care or can't afford child care, they can't work and then they're faced with impossible choices with few good outcomes," Stokes stressed.

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


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