King County Executive issues proclamation recognizing Child Care Provider Appreciation Day

This was originally posted on the Best Starts for Kids blog.

In recognition of the important work of child care providers, King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation designating May 12 as Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.  

“Child care workers are invaluable to our community and we all benefit from their dedicated and skilled work,” Constantine said in a video statement.

“But while child care providers are an essential workforce, their wages do not reflect the magnitude of their contributions to our communities,” Constantine said in the video statement. “Providers who are overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color have worked in high-risk conditions throughout the pandemic yet earn about $9 less per hour than the median wage. To build a more equitable King County we must invest in our child care workforce.”

Best Starts for Kids presented the proclamation to Nimao Dahir who owns and operates a Family Child Care in Tukwila.

Jessica Tollenaar Cafferty, Best Starts for Kids Child Care Policy Lead, made remarks about the need to invest in our child care sector.  

“Child care workers keep our communities running. By providing a warm and safe place for our babies and children to learn and thrive, child care providers ensure parents and caretakers are able to go to work, advance their careers, give back to their community, take care of their own health, and show up for their kids,” she said. “Child care providers are part of the village that it takes to raise a child. They are a critical support not only for parents and caregivers, but also for our youngest residents.” 

She added that King County is committed to supporting the child care sector to ensure communities can access affordable, high quality and well compensated child care.  

“These investments aren’t our end goal,” Tollenaar Cafferty said. “They are one step toward the recognition child care providers deserve and need to thrive in this community they keep running. This proclamation recognizes your important work, but at King County we know we must go farther to truly appreciate your invaluable contribution, and are committed to partnering with providers and families to keep moving toward our goal: where all families can access the care that best meets their needs, and providers are paid thriving wages, so our community has full access to opportunity and is happy, healthy, safe, and thriving.”  

From left, Patti Bailey, Director of Early Learning for SEIU Local 925, Nimao Dahir operator a Family Child Care in Tukwila, Jessica Tollenaar Cafferty, Best Starts Child Care Policy Lead, and Jamalia Jones, Best Starts for Kids interim Co-Lead.

How Best Starts is resourcing the child care sector  

Child care retention payments: In 2022, Best Starts, the City of Seattle, and Child Care Resources partnered to distribute $7.4 million to reach 12,000 child care workers across King County. The funding was designed to provide immediate relief to workers in an essential sector that has faced a crisis of attrition due to low wages and hazardous conditions, with the hope of incentivizing retention and continuity of care for kids in child care.   

Best Starts for Kids Child Care Subsidy Program: The Best Starts Child Care Subsidy is reaching more than 1,700 children, who would otherwise be ineligible for other subsides. We’re investing more than $160 million over the life of the levy to address gaps in resources for families who can’t access other subsidy supports because of income limits, activity requirements, or restrictions due to immigration status.  

King County is also looking at the impacts of wage boosts to child care workers. Best Starts for Kids is developing a Child Care Workforce Demonstration Pilot Project (also known as the Wage Boost Pilot Project) with evaluation to determine the impact of a salary supplement for approximately 1400 King County child care providers until 2027.   

King County is committed to partnering with providers, families, and other jurisdictions to work toward universal access for families and thriving compensation for providers.