As a parent or caregiver, it is important to find safe and affordable childcare. It can be overwhelming to find the right childcare provider, but resources are available for you.
Childcare Aware of Washington: Childcare Aware provides families with accessibility information and support in early care and education from birth to 12 years old. They work with families and providers to meet the needs of your child. They offer a search engine for families to find trusted childcare in their area that will include, location, process, subsidies, and more. Childcare Aware offers information on what parents/caregivers should ask, resources for financial assistance, and resources specific to the area of the state you are located. To learn more visit https://childcareawarewa.org/
Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families: Washington State DCYF offers many resources for families and caregivers to support finding safe and reliable childcare.
DCYF has created a tool called Child Care Check that helps parents and caregivers search for quality child care in their area. This will provide information on individual childcare and early learning programs. To learn more visit https://www.findchildcarewa.org/ or call 1-800-446-1114.
ECEAP & Head Start
ECEAP, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program is funded by Washington state and is for children ages 3 to 4. Head Start is funded by the federal government for children ages 3 to 4. Some locations are available for birth to age 3 as well as pre-natal care for pregnant individuals. Both programs offer free early learning childcare or preschool that will best support your child’s personal development and learning. Children with disabilities who receive special education services are also eligible for ECEAP. To learn more visit https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/earlylearning-childcare/eceap-headstart
Washington Working Connections Childcare (WCCC)
WCCC can help eligible families pay for childcare. If eligible, families choose an eligible provider and the state pays a portion of the child care cost. To learn more visit https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/earlylearning-childcare/getting-help/wccc.
The Child and Dependent Care Federal Tax Credit
The child and dependent care credit is a tax credit that may help you pay for the care of eligible children or dependents. This credit is based off of your income and the cost of care for your children or eligible dependents to work, look for work, or attend school. To learn more visit https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc602
Questions to Ask ChildCare Providers
Picking the right childcare provider is a personal decision for families. Make a list of questions you have that are specific to your child and their needs before meeting with or visiting a childcare provider. Here are some example questions to help you start:
- What is the daily schedule?
- How many children do you supervise?
- What modifications or supports can you provide my child?
- Does your staff have continuing education on how to best serve children with disabilities?
- What are some of the daily activities my child will be doing?
Childcare Check has created a PDF guide for families and caregivers to bring with them when visiting childcare providers. Visit https://childcareawarewa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Updated-Employer-handout-child-care-search_FINAL.pdf
Always check with your local school district to see programs offered in your area as well!