Walsh named co-chair of Child Care Improvement Task Force

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 18, 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Stewart, Public Information Officer – (360) 786-7720

Walsh named co-chair of Child Care Improvement Task Force

 

Last week, Rep. Maureen Walsh attended a meeting of a legislative group tasked with examining issues around subsidies for families to afford child care while at work. She was also named co-chair of the task force at the group’s first meeting.

The Child Care Improvement Task Force was created by Senate Bill 5595, which passed the Legislature in April and was signed by the governor in May.

“We created the task force to look into several of the concerns raised as this bill moved through the Legislature,” said Walsh, R-Walla Walla. “We’ll be closely reviewing the data and discussing what is best for the end goal that we all want: for parents to work so they can support their families.”

The Working Connections Child Care Program provides families who are living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level subsidized child care. It is offered only to parents who are working, and they must make co-payments for the day care based on their income level.

The task force was established to address the following issues:

  • creating a tiered child care reimbursement model;
  • expanding the early childhood education and assistance program;
  • assessing market rate reimbursement; and
  • addressing further graduation of the co-pay scale to smooth out the transition before the subsidy is cut off.

“We need to be careful how we go about this. We must ensure we improve the quality of child care, while helping to compensate for that care,” Walsh said. “There have been many concerns about the expansion of early learning, but I believe it’s one of the best things we’ve done for children and one of the best returns on our investment. We need to ensure we work with current child care providers to respect their years of experience and dedication to child care, while helping children be better prepared for kindergarten.”

Walsh co-chairs the group with Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane.

“I think it’s important for legislators to be able to work side-by-side with members from both sides of the aisle on issues that affects families and children and put our political persuasions aside,” Walsh said. “This group is about making smart and fair choices for families, day care providers and taxpayers, and I am optimistic we can find solutions to recommend for the Legislature to consider next year.”

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Olympia at 1:30 p.m.

For more information about Rep. Walsh, visit: houserepublicans.wa.gov/walsh.

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