When families can't find childcare, they can't work

As the assistant director of a child care center, I see challenges from a serious child care workforce shortage every day. We have lost great, experienced staff, including people who have been working with us for almost 15 years. We’re losing them to higher paying jobs due to the rise of cost of living and inflation all around, yet there isn't an increase in wages for the childcare workforce.

Kris Johnson’s recent column published in the Sun rightly focuses on child care as a business issue. Child care access isn’t just a single family’s struggle; it has wide-reaching effects on the economy, on working families, and on our early learning providers themselves.

Without living wages, benefits, and more stable revenue for child care providers, the challenges for parents and businesses aren’t likely to improve. I’m a member of the statewide Early Educator Design Team, tasked with developing solutions for recruiting and retaining the child care workforce. The state legislature can help by directing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to develop plans for affordable care for families and equitable compensation for the workforce. It can also start this year by ensuring more options for families most in need by raising Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) rates to cover the full cost of care.

When families can’t find child care, they can’t work. Policies that support the child care workforce also support women, the economy, and our kids who need quality care to prepare for entering school.

Sabrina Gardner, Port Orchard

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: When families can't find childcare, they can't work