To realize the potential of all Washington children, lawmakers should invest in high-quality childcare, preschool, and early learning during the 2020 legislative session.
Less than half of Washington’s children are ready for Kindergarten. Investing in high-quality early learning sets all of Washington’s kids up for success. Currently, many Washington families struggle to afford these services. Nearly a third of parents have quit their job because they couldn’t afford childcare. The lack of affordable childcare across our state results in a loss of $6.2 billion in opportunity costs, and employers lose $2 billion due to staff turnover.
The benefits to children who have access to early childhood learning are immeasurable. From being better prepared for Kindergarten, to reading earlier, to graduating high school at higher rates, these children see more options and opportunities in school and careers. Investing public dollars in early education serves our children and employers for decades to come.
Affordable and accessible childcare gives parents more opportunities to build a career and prosper while contributing to Washington’s economy. Having access to affordable early learning programs should be a matter of choosing the program that best suits a family’s needs, not what they can afford. Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops by age five, which is why it’s essential for parents to have access to affordable, high-quality childcare.