As Senator Patty Murray entered the Hough Early Learning Center she was greeted with smiling preschoolers and a welcome sign speckled with the colorful handprints of the children enrolled there. This visit is one of many she’s making throughout Washington to hear from families about the struggles they’re having accessing and affording high quality child care.

Murray toured the center, stopping in infant, toddler and preschool classrooms before talking with parents and staff at the ESD 112 operated Hough Early Learning Center. The message she’s taking back with her is all too common: finding available quality child care that low- and middle-income families can afford is one of the greatest challenges working families face today.

Parents aren’t the only ones struggling. Even with long waitlists for open spots, child care businesses are having a tough time staying in the black. With wage increases, the gap between subsidy and market rates and overall increased costs, operating at a loss is becoming more common.

ESD 112’s Executive Director of Early Care & Education, Jodi Wall, shared information with the Senator about how the Child Care Crisis is playing out at the regional level. Read more here.

Murray is hoping to make things better for both families and providers. Her Child Care for Working Families Act will ensure parents aren’t forced to pay more than they can afford for child care while improving access to high-quality child care for low- and middle-income children. Learn more about the bill here and see the 100+ organizations supporting it.

Senator Murray’s visit in the media: