In 2021, in an ordinance related to its COVID-19 response, Seattle created a new fund and amended its 2021 budget to allocate funds specifically for child care capital improvements. Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery funds were established under the American Rescue Plan Act to help households, businesses, and nonprofits in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The Human Services Department provided up to $5 million of these funds and up to $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to increase licensed capacity in preschool and child care facilities across the city. Eligible providers could apply for grants between $10,000 and $2 million; they were required to have experience serving children from birth to 5 years. Eligible activities for the grant include construction, renovation, or rehabilitation of facilities that increase the licensed capacity of direct service delivery space; and construction of new facilities that expands licensed capacity to serve children, either from the ground up or by substantially remodeling existing buildings. Awards were first issued on September 9, 2022, and will continue until December 31, 2024.
Seattle Department of Human Services. (n.d.). 2022 Child care facilities fund RFP.
Seattle Department of Human Services. (2022). Question and Answer 2022 Child Care Facilities RFP.
City of Seattle. (2021). Ordinance 126371.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about ELS@H Findings
High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.