FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Jan. 9, 1997
State to eliminate waiting list for employment
OLYMPIA - The perennially overloaded
statewide waiting list for subsidized child care for working parents
is about to be eliminated, Gov. Mike Lowry announced today.
"This is a major accomplishment for the state and good news
for working parents," Lowry said. "This sends a signal
that there is help for parents whose low wages might otherwise
force them to choose between their job or their kids."
The state Employment Child Care program, operated out of the
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), is available
to low-income families who are not on welfare. To qualify for
full subsidy, the gross income for a family of three cannot exceed
$15,780 per year. On a sliding scale, the state pays part of
the costs for the same family up to $21,588 per year.
From the late 1980s to early 1990s, the program grew from serving
a monthly average of 2,963 children to serving 8,779 children.
After a rapid growth in caseloads in 1992, the program was closed
to new authorizations. The following summer, Employment Child
Care was reopened by Gov. Lowry and demand for openings created
waiting lists of nearly 6,000 children.
"We have come a long way since this program was closed,
thanks to the commitment of DSHS workers and the Legislature,"
Lowry said. In 1996, the Legislature passed Lowry's $10 million
supplemental budget request to reduce the waiting list. Due to
better accounting and lower than anticipated costs, DSHS predicts
it will eliminate the entire waiting list early this year, bringing
to total 11,329 children served by the state.
"It is a pleasure to celebrate how far we've come on this
issue, but the challenge ahead is to keep openings in the program
for the many parents who will need child care in the future,"
For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.