Digging into the details on upcoming child care facilities projects

A strong child care sector is key when it comes to supporting racial equity in our communities, because kids receive high quality care while their families work, contribute to their community, and take care of other basic needs. 

Through the General Child Care Facilities Fund (GCCFF) and in partnership with the Enterprise Community Partners, King County invested $1.9 million in 10 early learning facilities projects. The GCCFF is funded through the Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA).  

These 10 projects will renovate existing child care facilities and construct new ones to create 41 new classrooms and over 700 new early learning slots for children across King County.  

“This is an industry predominantly run by women, women of color, immigrant women, and women whose first language is not English. These are the women we’re invested in. Especially looking at culturally competent programs, we are investing in Black, Brown, Indigenous and immigrant women who are small business owners… we are bringing access to children and families and also enhancing the economic opportunities of our communities at large.” said Juanita Salinas-Aguila, Senior Program Director Pacific Northwest, Enterprise Community Partners. 

The projects are located in Seattle, Tukwila, Burien, Skyway, Redmond and Auburn. Four of the projects will be located alongside affordable housing, and three projects will be operated by child care providers who are new to the child care industry.  

All projects serve diverse, low-income communities including communities of color, multiethnic, multilingual and multireligious communities, children with special needs, children and families experiencing housing insecurity and children in foster care. 

“This work in early learning touches so many aspects of our communities. When we think about children, it’s a whole-child, whole-community approach. When you invest in early learning you are not only able to build cradle to career pipelines, but you’re also strengthening upward mobility for children and families, enriching communities and investing in small business development.” said Salinas-Aguila. 

Providing technical assistance as an equitable support

For newer child care providers or those who haven’t engaged in facilities development before, taking on construction projects in addition to the work they do caring for children requires strong partnership and trusted, thorough advice at multiple stages of the project.  

Enterprise provides technical assistance to child care providers for the following needs: 

  • Early Learning: Grantees can get support with licensing procedures, curriculum development, resources for children and families, and connection to necessary early learning supports such as Early Achievers, the Washington state Department of Children, Youth and Families and other funding sources.  
  • Real Estate: Grantees can receive assistance with development, construction, tenant improvements, timeline, permitting, and design. 
  • Finance: Experts assist providers with developing and improving budgets, identifying additional funding sources to leverage and structuring multiple finance sources effectively. 
  • Mixed-use: Developments combining housing and early learning can receive finance, operations, design and structuring supports.  

Funded projects also receive project management support to ensure things move along smoothly and any challenges are addressed.  

Enterprise has prioritized racial equity in this work by intentionally reaching out to and providing coaching for providers of color. All the projects serve low-income communities by accepting state and local subsidies that help low-income families afford care.  

Enterprise is also developing an Emerging Providers Cohort focused on capacity building efforts for child care providers. Training opportunities related to early learning facilities development could include learning labs, panel discussions, site visits and hands-on training to build expertise for providers who would like to either build their own new child care center or expand their current business. Enterprise will be hosting listening sessions to inform the Emerging Providers Cohort program so stay tuned for updates. 

If you would like to learn more about PSTAA and its strategies or joining the email list to learn about PSTAA news and updates, visit Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account – King County.