LOCAL NEWS

Snohomish County to allocate millions of dollars for nearly 360 child care spots

Jul 9, 2023, 5:54 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2023, 10:57 am

Image: Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., speaks on child care relief during a news conference, on Capi...

Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., speaks on child care relief during a news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (Photo: Mariam Zuhaib, AP)

(Photo: Mariam Zuhaib, AP)

Snohomish County is awarding more than $7 million to six projects that will create nearly 360 new child care slots across the county.

Executive Dave Somers announced Thursday the county is allocating $7.6 million to the projects that “increase high-quality, affordable child care.” Snohomish County is allocating the funds that were provided by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that President Joe Biden signed in 2021.

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Noting “an extreme child care desert,” the county, citing data from Child Care Aware in a press release, says are only 62 slots for every 100 pre-K children in Snohomish County, below the state’s 79 overall.

“A major barrier to people joining or returning to the workforce is the lack of available and affordable child care,” Somers said in a statement. “The effects of child care deserts across our county impact all of us, but they have an even more acute impact on women, who are pushed out of the job market at higher rates due to the extremely high cost of child care. That’s why we are expanding access for communities across our county, particularly in places where child care is already extremely scarce.”

The Associated Press (AP), citing liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, noted last year half of U.S. residents live in child care deserts where fewer than a third of children have access to a slot at a licensed facility.

“If you’ve been paying attention and talking to businesses and families around the community, this is a huge area of need,” Somers said at an announcement event in Everett, according to the Everett Herald.

Two organizations to get $2 million

The largest sums of money will go to Everett’s Rise Up Academy and the Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW), which are each getting $2 million.

Rise Up Academy, which as the Everett Herald noted, hosted the announcement event where Somers spoke to an audience that included elected officials, former students and heads of organizations receiving funds. This project will construct a new child care and early learning facility that will increase Rise Up Academy’s child care capacity from 70 to 130 slots.

“At Rise Up Academy, we embrace excellence and serve as beacons of hope for children, families, and communities in their pursuit of breaking free from the cycle of poverty and academic challenges that plague BIPOC communities,” Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr., Rise Up Academy’s CEO and Executive Director, said in the release.

As part of the larger Lynnwood Neighborhood Center project, The VOAWW will build new classroom space to serve 62 children including preschool, toddler, and infant classrooms, the release states.

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Where the rest of the money is going

Sums of $1 million will go to three different organizations.

Everett’s Housing Hope will take their $1 million and construct a new facility for Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center, create between 136 and 142 new child care slots, doubling this program’s capacity.

Camp Killoqua Child Care Center in Stanwood, part of Camp Fire Snohomish County, also got $1 million to open a new child care facility which will enroll 32 children.

“Our new facility will incorporate our tried-and-true programming alongside with child care and connections to nature and the outdoors,” Krissy Davis, Camp Fire Snohomish County’s Executive Director, said in the release.

Finally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County will take their $1 million to construct a new 12,000-square-foot building in Edmonds. Child care offerings will expand from the current 70 slots to up to 120.

In addition, the Latino Educational Training Institute in Lynnwood will receive $656,193. The project will provide approximately 20 child care slots for Latino and immigrant community members.

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Snohomish County to allocate millions of dollars for nearly 360 child care spots