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2021 Senate Bill 5237: Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs
Introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson (South King County) (D) on January 15, 2021
Referred to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on January 15, 2021
Substitute offered in the Senate on February 3, 2021
• Establishes a new account for child care and early learning purposes and includes a non-exhaustive list of allowable uses..
Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 3, 2021
Substitute offered in the Senate on February 18, 2021
Expands eligibility and decreases co-payments in the Working Connections Child Care Program and expands eligibility in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. • Provides increased rates, training, grants, supports, and services for child care and early learning providers. • Increases prenatal-to-three supports for providers and families.
Referred to the Senate Rules Committee on February 22, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. John Braun (Centralia) (R) on March 6, 2021
Removes provisions related to collective bargaining in certain sections--fair start for kids account, child care subsidy rates, dual language rate enhancement, and infant rate enhancement. (2) Adds a new section that provides that nothing in this act changes the Department of Children, Youth, and Families' (DCYF) responsibility to collectively bargain over mandatory subjects consist with current law or limits the legislature's authority to make programmatic modifications consistent with legislative reservation of rights under current law. For the section addressing child care subsidy rates, the parties should bargain over the implementation of the subsidy rates and apply those rates consistent with that section and the agreement reached between the parties. (3) Directs DCYF to adopt rules to implement infant rate enhancements.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. Mike Padden (Spokane Valley) (R) on March 6, 2021
Adds a new section requiring the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to (1) provide additional supports to aid interested parties in becoming licensed or certified child care providers, and (2) adopt rules to create a regulatory relief incentive program that may include specified incentives.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. Christine Rolfes (Kitsap County) (D) on March 6, 2021
Makes Working Connections Child Care eligibility for households with annual incomes at or below 60 percent of the state median income begin July 1, 2021, instead of July 1, 2025. (2) Makes provisions related to exempting certain student parents from work requirements as a condition of receiving Working Connections Child Care benefits begin July 1, 2021, instead of July 1, 2023. (3) Increases child care subsidy base rates to the 85th percentile of market instead of 75th percentile beginning July 1, 2021. (4) Increases rates for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) to 10 percent in the 2021-22 school year instead of phasing in increases to 9 percent in the 2023-24 school year..
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. Shelly Short (Addy) (R) on March 6, 2021
1) Directs the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to establish a five-year family home hub pilot project to allow family home licensees to operate child care and early learning programs in private residences where the licensee does not reside. (2) Amends the definition of "family home provider," so that care does not need to be provided in the family living quarters for the pilot project. (3) Expires the pilot project on August 1, 2026.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Sequim) (D) on March 6, 2021
1) Moves the nonexhaustive list of allowable uses for the Fair Start for Kids Account to a new spending goals and strategies section. (2) Adds supporting youth development programs serving children and youth ages birth through 12 to the spending goals and strategies section. (3) Directs the Early Learning Advisory Council to convene a temporary licensing subcommittee to provide feedback and recommendations by December 1, 2022, on: (a) Improvement to the statewide licensing process; (b) strategies to increase the number of licensed child care providers; (c) model policies for licensed child care providers, including a licensing guidebook; and (d) incentives and financial supports to help prospective providers navigate the licensing process.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Amendment offered by Sen. Lynda Wilson (Clark County) (R) on March 6, 2021
Adds the fair start for kids account to the definition of related funds, which includes it in the legislative balanced budget requirement.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2021
Received in the House on March 9, 2021
Referred to the House Children, Youth & Family Committee on March 9, 2021
Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on March 26, 2021

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