The Licensed Center Advisory Subcommittee of the Early Learning Advisory Council  was created in 2017 within the Departent of Early Learning (now Department of Children, Youth, and Families). Tasked with providing input on licensing and subsidy rules and regulations,  LCAS is balancing expectations for facilitating meetings with member representatives of licensed child care centers and Washington’s regional, racial, and cultural diversity.  Members, serve two year terms that end June 30th of the second year. This group plans to meet in person quarterly.

At their August 13th meeting, Nicole Rose from DCYF presented the Compensation Technical Workgroup Draft Recommendations. She stated that compensation is inclusive of benefits such as retirement, health insurance and personal leave. She questioned how we are building on existing structures rather than creating new ones. Wages could build on existing QRIS infrastructure to implement compensation wage strategies for early childhood educators using: 

  1. Tiered reimbursement targets compensation
  2. Recommended pay scale within Early Achievers
  3. Wage/Stipend increase
  4. Population wage incentives

When discussing the topic of benefits, the big question was “how do you pool resources?”  As for professional support, the questions were around increasing the scholarship program and developing a loan forgiveness and/or repayment program. Other recommendations for the Department of Commerce task force included business tax credits, employee tax credits, and even a property tax tweak was mentioned.

Nicole addressed career pathways and compensation in the following areas:

  • Portability of certificates and degrees
  • Increased access to learning
  • Alternate options for meeting staff qualifications
  • Leveraging data across sectors to support workforce needs
  • Establishing a professional development community feedback model
  • Using workforce registry data (MERIT) to collect and analyze data effectively

She also talked about equivalents: “How does that data about the workforce in MERIT compare to what the new WACs require?” “What are the knowledge, skills and abilities a person needs?” “What are the pathways to meet those?” “How can we assess, honor the way people learn and be culturally responsive?”

Her final questions were, “How do we have one collective voice going in to session?” and “How do we help the legislature make a good decision?”

Frank Ordway then set up the scenario for the next legislative session.  He emphasized the fact that there will be new voices, new people to talk to, and the key will be getting to know the individuals and recognizing where do they link.  What are their priorities?

The governor submits his budget in mid-December, then the legislature convenes in January. More than half of the state budget revenue comes from state sales tax. More than half of the state general fund revenue goes to K-12 education

DCYF will ask for money for:

  • Workforce stabilization; 
  • Home visiting; 
  • Improve congregate care–Families First Act (federal); 
  • Childcare rate increases

The Joint Select Committee on Early Achievers co-chaired by Senator Andy Billig and Representative Tom Dent is a great committee that will listen and make difficult decisions.  Last February the WFIS Board and member school leaders n=met with Tom Dent.  Senator Billig seems receptive to the idea of accreditation counting as a 3 in Early Achievers.

Governor Inslee has asked DCYF to research Universal PreK.  DCYF’s stance is that Washington needs a cohesive, coherent birth-to-five plan, stopping age-based divisions. It needs to have an actual articulated strategy with high quality care for all children. It’s essential to solve the current headaches with the system.  

And lastly, Crosswalks between the old and new WACs are in development. DCYF is rolling out an awareness campaign regarding:

  • What’s been changed
  • New rules
  • Refined rules
  • Rules that didn’t change at all
  • Content areas