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Child care gets $7.6 million boost in Snohomish County

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Snohomish County officials are spending $7.6 million to increase the local level of high-quality, affordable child care.

“A major barrier to people joining or returning to the workforce is the lack of available and affordable child care," County Executive Dave 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.”

Somers said the money will be awarded to six capital projects and will create approximately 360 new child-care slots, especially in areas that are considered extreme child-care deserts. Somers' office estimates 80% of Snohomish residents live in such an area, and that there are about 62 child-care spots for every 100 kids in the county (which it notes is lower than the state average of 79).

Increasing child-care availability was identified as a top community priority during the county’s communitywide pandemic recovery engagement effort.

The county is targeting the funds at six local organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County, which is getting $1 million to construct a 12,000-square-foot building to increase capacity for child-care programs. The Latino Educational Training Institute is receiving $656,193 for a 1,200-square-foot modular building and a playground. See a full list of organizations here.

The money for the child-care programs is coming from funding the county received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Because of the historic investments Democrats made in the American Rescue Plan, hundreds of families across Snohomish County will now have access to affordable, high-quality child care. Right now, families are struggling to find the child care they need—and struggling to afford the options they can find—and today’s announcement by Executive Somers is going to make a real difference for so many kids and families in Snohomish County. This announcement shows what’s possible when we invest in our nation’s child care sector, and I am going to keep pushing in Congress until we fix the child care crisis once and for all,” Senator Patty Murray said.

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