Spokane childcare providers worried over new state requirements

Spokane childcare providers worried over new state requirements

Finding affordable childcare in Spokane has been an ongoing issue and its about to get even harder for some families.

A recent study listed Washington as the 10th least affordable state for childcare. Local childcare centers said new requirements that went into effect August 1 will raise their rates even higher. This is as they struggle to pay and train their staff.

“We have a wonderful curriculum and a wonderful staff that have a passion for children,” said Denise Ellenwood, Director for Palisades Christian Learning Center.

When it comes to providing care for children, it all starts with passion. However, it turns out passion is no longer enough to keep local child care businesses up and running.

“We really felt almost like our sacred space was invaded,” said Ellenwood.

Ellenwood said ever since the new Washington state requirements kicked in on August 1, things have already shaken up.

“We have these rule makers coming to our center saying we want this and this done, but a lot of it is not necessary,” said Ellenwood.

While the list of rules is ongoing, spanning over 120 pages, there’s one in particular that has providers concerned. Teachers now need a level of education that’s equivalent to an initial 12-credit certification in Early Childhood Education from a college.

“I’ve already lost a teacher because she just said I’m already putting my daughter through college, I’m not going to go through college myself,” said Ellenwood.

“Because of those regulations they shy away and don’t want to come,” said Nancy Clifton, Director at Bethel Christian Pre-School.

Not only is it keeping away potential employees, but both said it will eventually hurt parents looking for affordable childcare.

“It’s going to be hard not raising our rates so high in order to take care of our teacher, food and such as that,” said Clifton.

Childcare providers have a five-year grace period to meet all the new standards. Providers are waiting for some clarification on some of the rules, as they just rolled out earlier this month.