Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers
Department of Community and Human Services
Are you an essential worker who lives or works in King County and you need childcare to be able to do your job?
If the answer is YES, King County is here to help you access free emergency child care.
For those who live or work in King County, outside the City of Seattle:
If you are interested in accessing the free emergency child care slots, please call the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114 to reach staff who will conduct a phone intake with you! After the intake, a resources specialist will work with you to match you with an eligible child care provider that meets your family's needs. The County and its partners are working quickly, and hope to have child care available by mid-April.
For those who live or work in the City of Seattle:
The City of Seattle is rolling out an Emergency Child Care program to support first responders and essential workers. If you are an essential worker living or working in the City of Seattle, please fill out an interest form.
You will need to provide the following info:
Verification of employment
Must include the name of the employee and the employer, and the physical address of the workplace. A picture of one of the following items will do:
- Work ID badge
- Email from a work address with name and contact information in the signature line
- Business card
- Work schedule w/employer visible.
Verification of your home address
**Only required if you work in the City of Seattle OR outside of King County, to prove residency in King County**
- Submit ONE from this list:
- Utility bill (bas, water/garbage, light/electrical, cable, landline phone)
- Home/Renter’s Insurance
- Mortgage document
- Submit TWO from this list from various sources:
- Insurance document (health, car, etc.)
- Benefits document (DSHS, SSI, paystub, etc.)
- Financial document (bank statement, retirement, credit card statement)
- Other bills
- Driver’s License
- Lease or Housing Agency letter
Documentation must be no more than three months old, include the name of the employee, and cannot be envelopes or personal correspondence. If you are experiencing homelessness or otherwise unable to verify your home address, please let us know and we will provide alternative means of verification.
You can expedite the intake and matching process by sending the required verification documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Child Care FAQ
What is the proposed legislation?
The Executive is proposing to appropriate $2.2M of unspent Puget Sound Accountability Account (PSTAA) funding to provide emergency child care for first responders and other essential workers who live or work in King County.
King County will leverage the City of Seattle’s emergency child care approach, partnering with child care providers across King County, to offer care to essential workers who live or work in King County outside the City of Seattle.
Child care will be provided at no cost to eligible families.
Why is it necessary?
The County and other key stakeholders have received feedback that first responders and essential workers are having difficulty accessing child care due to the fact that many child care providers have been to be forced to close, and others critically under-enrolled, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
King County’s emergency child care plan is our first step to ensure that first responders and critical essential personnel who live or work in King County outside the City of Seattle have access to safe, consistent and uninterrupted care; while supporting a network of child care providers that need to fill vacant slots.
How will it be implemented?
The County will utilize the City’s existing infrastructure to execute service agreements and reimburse child care providers. No PSTAA funding will be provided to the City; instead an FTE will be “loaned” to support this work.
The County will collaborate with Child Care Resources to identify providers and match families with vacant slots.
Eligible providers will be reimbursed at an enhanced rate with start-up funding that can be used for the increased cost of supplies needed to implement new health and safety guidelines, health insurance offsets, or whatever is most needed for the site to continue operating.
DCHS will provide oversight of the dollars and program. Seattle will administer service agreements and reimbursement payments to child care providers, and King County will provide oversight of the City of Seattle.
Who are essential workers?
First responders and essential workers are defined by the Governor Inslee's March 23rd Proclamation which includes front-line essential medical professionals and support staff, first responders, child care providers who are providing emergency care, grocery and pharmacy employees, and transit workers.
Does this create new child care sites or expand the market?
The emergency child care plan works with the existing workforce and does not set up new sites. There are providers able and willing to serve who are currently under-enrolled or need additional support to continue operating.
Will children be displaced from existing slots due to this plan?
No. Child Care Resources will work with identified providers to match essential personnel with vacant slots that meet their needs. No currently enrolled children or families will be displaced.
How many child care sites have currently closed?
As of March 23, 439 licensed child care sites have closed across Washington State, totaling 21,606 slots that are no longer available to families; 13,627 of these slots are in King and Pierce Counties. These data do not include providers who remain open but are under-enrolled with vacancies.
What about child care providers who do not participate in this plan?
PHSKC has issued new guidance for child care providers that includes recommendations to help them keep themselves, their kids, and families safe.
King County is expanding child care health consultation (CCHC) services at no cost to licensed providers across King County. This will include supports like weekly community calls and virtual trainings to help providers implementing the PHSKC recommendations.
We are committed to finding long-term solutions for all child care providers and families, and will continue working on those through PSTAA implementation and the Children and Families Strategy Task Force.
Starting in March 2020, households across our region and across the country will have the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Census. Your participation matters. Learn how you can promote a fair and accurate census at kingcounty.gov/census.