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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine transmits emergency legislation to fund child care services for first responders, others

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine sent legislation to the King County Council on March 30 proposing the release of $2.2 million in funding from Sound Transit educational taxes to provide emergency child care to first responders and other essential workers who live or work in King County.

Story

With first responders and others working long hours as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, child care and early learning programs become even more important to the families of those on the front lines.

All schools in Washington have closed, and though child care providers are considered part of the essential workforce, many child care providers and early learning facilities have shut their doors as enrollment declined.

King County’s emergency child care plan is a key step to ensure that first responders and critical essential workers have access to safe, consistent and uninterrupted care.

Executive Constantine’s legislation would use $2.2 million in funding from the Puget Sound Taxpayers Accountability Account to provide child care at no cost to families of first responders and other essential workers at locations around the region with vacancies.

First responders and essential workers are defined by the Governor Inslee's March 23 Proclamation which includes front-line essential medical professionals and support staff, first responders, child care providers who are providing emergency care, grocery and pharmacy employees, and transit workers.

The Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account was created by the Washington State Legislature and directs specific funds collected by Sound Transit to improve educational outcomes in early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education.

Approximately $315 million is expected to become available to King County between 2019 and 2034.

King County will collaborate with the City of Seattle and Child Care Resources to identify providers and match families with vacant slots with existing, high-quality child care providers.

King County anticipates funding approximately 300 slots in an estimated 60 sites. The funding provides an enhanced reimbursement for providers plus one-time funds to help providers offset increased costs for things like cleaning supplies or protective gear.

The program is available to residents who work or live in King County outside the City of Seattle. For details, call Child Care Resources at 1-800-446-1114.

For those who work or live in Seattle, the City of Seattle is rolling out an Emergency Child Care program to support first responders and essential workers, working with childcare providers to open emergency child care under new Public Health – Seattle & King County guidelines for childcare facilities operating during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are an essential worker living or working in the City of Seattle and have not already been contacted by your employer, please visit this website to fill out an interest form.

“In this time of crisis, we need to do all we can to support first responders and their families. This legislation helps solve child care challenges for those working long hours for our health and safety, while also supporting our region’s dedicated child care providers who want to keep their doors open in these extraordinary times,” said Executive Constantine.

“Working together, our partnership is allowing us to open emergency child care for hundreds of children both here in Seattle and across King County. These facilities will be absolutely critical as our region prepares for a surge in COVID-19 cases. Our essential employees are on the front lines of our response to this pandemic, and it’s important that they are not worrying about finding child care during their shifts,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan.

“When the King County Council created and adopted the plan for allocating this funding source, we made expanding access to child care a top priority. We did not imagine then that the need would grow to be so emergent and acute,” said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci. “I am proud to work with the Executive and my Council colleagues to repurpose some of this money now to make sure child care is available to first responders, health care professionals, grocery workers and other essential personnel who need our support to keep fighting on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus. As a representative of the district where our first and most deadly outbreak began, I look forward to expanding child care resources to hard-hit areas throughout King County.”


Relevant links


Quotes

In this time of crisis, we need to do all we can to support first responders and their families. This legislation helps solve child care challenges for those working long hours for our health and safety, while also supporting our region’s dedicated child care providers who want to keep their doors open in these extraordinary times.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Working together, our partnership is allowing us to open emergency child care for hundreds of children both here in Seattle and across King County. These facilities will be absolutely critical as our region prepares for a surge in COVID-19 cases. Our essential employees are on the front lines of our response to this pandemic, and it’s important that they are not worrying about finding child care during their shifts.

Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle

When the King County Council created and adopted the plan for allocating this funding source, we made expanding access to child care a top priority. We did not imagine then that the need would grow to be so emergent and acute. I am proud to work with the Executive and my Council colleagues to repurpose some of this money now to make sure child care is available to first responders, health care professionals, grocery workers and other essential personnel who need our support to keep fighting on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus. As a representative of the district where our first and most deadly outbreak began, I look forward to expanding child care resources to hard-hit areas throughout King County.

Claudia Balducci, King County Council Chair

For more information, contact:

Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography