As a working mom and public school parent, I know how important and expensive child care is. A city as innovative as Seattle should be leading the nation in solving the childcare and early-learning affordability challenges facing our families. As a Mayor who would know the struggle these parents face, I want to help Seattle’s parents easily find the highest quality, most appropriate, and most affordable options for their child.
We have a responsibility to give every child a great start in life, to promote economic justice, and to empower women to participate equally in the workforce. Affordable access to child care is the next progressive issue where Seattle can lead the country.
Providing high-quality, well supported child care is one of the most effective tools we can use to close the opportunity gap and bring economic justice for both families and providers. Unfortunately, the cost is too high for many families to afford, and child care workers are still drastically underpaid.
As Mayor, I will set a 2020 goal to provide every child under 5 access to quality birth-to-5 child care and early learning, while ensuring that caregivers earn a living wage.
I believe in a “Child First” approach to providing affordable childcare and early learning, which focuses on kids rather than the entities that serve them. The city would provide a one-stop clearinghouse for the numerous services and organizations that help parents afford child care and early learning.
While they may each serve children in beneficial ways, the challenge for families looking for affordable child care is navigating all the various services and sources. This coordinated effort will help focus successful federal programs like Head Start with State, County, and existing City resources. By pulling all resources and entities together under one roof, Seattle can consolidate and coordinate funds to more efficiently serve families in need.
My “Child First” plan also includes building a greater partnership between the City, child care providers, and private employers, encouraging them to provide better coverage or contribute to the City’s effort to provide more opportunities. Potential partners include organizations like United Way of King County and the coalition-building efforts of Thrive Washington, as well as the support that partners like SEIU 925 can bring by helping deliver better training, housing, and economic justice for providers.
I also support an increase in the Families and Education Levy in 2018. The Levy invests millions in health care and early learning for Seattle’s children, setting them on the right path for a lifetime of academic achievement. Increasing this levy will expand the reach of the City’s program to more families, bringing greater funding resources to Seattle’s one-stop clearinghouse for parents.
Finally, we must coordinate and expand on crucial investments that the City of Seattle, King County, and the State have been making in providing all children a great start in life by expanding Pre-Kindergarten and wrap-around services. My goal is to ensure that no family pays more than 10 percent of their income for child care.