In the News

WA families can’t find affordable childcare. Our biggest polluters should pay for it | Opinion

Jan 26, 2024
By Hilary Franz and Kristine Reeves // January 26, 2024

As working mothers, we know firsthand the importance of affordable and accessible childcare. We know the impacts on families and careers when, because they cannot find quality, affordable childcare, parents are forced to stay home from work or leave the workforce altogether. 

While the pandemic amplified childcare challenges in Washington state, this is not a new problem. We remember well the stress when we were new moms, worrying over trying to balance careers, making ends meet and caring for our families. 

Washington should be a leader on this issue. Unfortunately, our state’s childcare sector is in trouble — it’s not serving our communities or the people who care for our children. 

Too many families must choose between their careers and childcare costs that often outpace their salaries. Meanwhile, despite the rising costs of childcare, nearly 20 percent of childcare workers live in poverty. 

We are leaving too many of our children, families and childcare providers behind, particularly those in communities with the greatest health and economic disparities. Not having access to affordable, reliable childcare contributes to cycles of economic hardship and worsens gender pay gaps. 

That’s why we’re proposing a bold, new solution: a land trust that will strengthen Washington’s childcare network, one paid for by our largest polluters. 

Through HB 2243, we will create a Child Care Equity Land Trust that will provide secure, permanent funding for child care, expand and empower our work force, and protect our precious natural lands.

Read more of Hilary’s op-ed in The News Tribune.

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