King County has seen its gap in the supply and demand of child care expand year after year. With more than 125,000 children five years and younger and enough providers to accommodate just half of them, something must be done. But where do we start?
Since 2012, King County has lost about 200 providers – though there was a net increase of more 1,000 child care spots. The problem? King County’s population of children (5 years and younger) has grown by about 10,000 over the same five years.
Home to large businesses like Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft, our local economy has drawn families to the area for going on three decades. In 2016, Seattle was the fastest growing major metropolitan city in America – exponentially increasing the need for child care. Yet the level of child care provided has remained essentially unchanged.
Even if available, the median cost of child care consumes nearly one-fifth of the net median annual household income in King County meaning most households find it difficult to pay for it. But because of the financial demands of life in the area, all adults in the home have to work – making child care a requirement for most families. Not a choice.
Crosscut’s Caley Cook wrote “there simply aren’t enough spots for all the children who need child care because it’s difficult to open a center” (King County’s Daycare Dilemma, 2014). In the same article, Caley mentions that most people find the Washington State Department of Early Learning as the most difficult obstacle to overcome when looking to become a child care provider. Larger companies have staff whose only job is to coordinate and follow up with the state. However, for the small business wanting to start out of their home, they are left to do it themselves.
What We Can Do
Our goal at Northwest Scholastic is to eliminate the largest barrier between entrepreneurs and providing child care. We work with potential providers by coordinating and following up with the state to realize your dreams. By making this process easier, we hope more people will be motivated, open their doors, and provide a much needed service to local families.