HB 1550 needs further adjusting so that Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is not supplanting existing licensed early learning providers. TK should be restricted to occurring only in proven childcare deserts. Public schools are not required to be licensed, use developmentally appropriate curricula, or have teachers trained in early ed. In TK, a public school is given $17K/student of Basic Ed funding. In comparison, an ECEAP provider receives $11K, and children on subsidies in private childcare receive 75% of market pricing from serving the same child for the same daily hours.

Please get in touch with your representatives, asking them to ensure TK expansion is data-driven and equitable on all fronts.

Comment here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1550

SB 5316 improves some of the issues associated with the DCYF background check system by eliminating costs. Still, without better access to fingerprinting both geographically and in terms of appointment availability, the system creates an undue burden on childcare employees who must wait for the results before being permitted to work. DCYF’s chosen vendor Identogo has many locations restricted to TSA Precheck or other types of fingerprinting yet to be available for childcare background checks. Please ask your legislators to fix these shortcomings that hamper the childcare workforce.

Comment here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/5316

WFIS also encourages support for these bills:

SB 5225 Allowing childcare workers to access the Working Connections childcare program benefits to help cover their child’s tuition helps recruit and retain the workforce.

SB 5423 expands Working Connections Child Care eligibility to allow parents who are child care center employees in apprenticeship programs access subsidies.