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P.O. Box 40002 ∑ Olympia, Washington 98504-0002 ∑ (360) 902-4111 ∑



Dennis Braddock, Department of Social and Health Services
Mary Selecky, Department of Health
Busse Nutley, Office of Community Development
Martha Choe, Office of Trade and Economic Development
Earl Hale, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Gary Moore, Department of Labor and Industries

FROM: Gary Locke, Governor
DATE: July 21, 2000
SUBJECT: Coordination of Child Care and Early Learning programs

Our state agencies administer a broad array of programs that impact child care and early learning. Unfortunately, the diversity of funding sources has created regulatory difficulties for the providers of child care and early learning services, as well as for the families that need these programs.

Access to quality child care is essential to the health of our economy. Working families rely on these services to care for their children during working hours and to prepare them for school. Given the size of our state programs and their importance to the continued success of welfare and education reform, we must coordinate program regulations, policies, and standards across agency lines.

During the 2000 legislative session, a proposal was made to compile all programs impacting children from birth to age five into a single new agency. This bill, while unsuccessful, highlighted a flaw in our services to children and families. Although separate, our programs must effectively support one another within a unified policy framework.

I do not believe that a new agency is necessary to achieve this goal. Accessible, high quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities for all families in Washington State can only be achieved through interagency cooperation. Therefore, I am directing all executive cabinet agencies that administer child care and early learning programs to develop a policy agenda that balances the need for high quality programs with the demand for affordable, accessible care. State agencies must develop common business practices to make administration of these programs seamless for families, as well as child care and early learning providers.

This effort should build upon existing work that identifies common ground between agencies, such as the development of outcome goals, and should also refine fiscal, contracting, and information systems. Cabinet level officials must guide their program staff in forming and implementing this policy directive.

I have asked Robin Zukoski, Early Learning and Child Care Executive Policy Analyst, to oversee this endeavor on my behalf. Please coordinate all budget and policy initiatives through her.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.