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July 1: EASIER to Access Affordable Child Care

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Policy & Legislation

Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) helps families with low incomes pay for child care while they work or meet WorkFirst participation requirements.

When a family qualifies for child care subsidy benefits and chooses an eligible provider, the state pays a portion of the cost of child care. The parent is also responsible to pay a co-payment to the provider each month.

In the last legislative session, two significant policy changes were made that should make accessing WCCC easier for families in Washington. Numbers are at an all time low, which means that this is the perfect time with summer coming along to get support and financial help for child care in the summer. We know that kids can lose up to 2 months during summer months in reading and math skills, so afterschool providers should make every effort to make sure families know of these positive changes.

Effective July 1, families who qualify for WCCC will be authorized for a 12 month time frame. This is a huge benefit for families as it cuts down on paperwork and losing benefits. This new rule was a pilot in previous years for families with young children, but now applies to all families using licensed child care programs. As has always been the case, if a families financial situation changes during the year, they will need to make sure to let WCCC know.

The other success in the legislature this session that goes into effect July 1 is that the poverty level to qualify for WCCC has been moved back up to 200% of the federal poverty level. This should encourage families and provide easier access in these tough economic times. Advocates have heard that the phone call wait time at DSHS can be very long and frustrating due to staff cutbacks, so encourage your families to persevere!! Summer hours are critical for school-age youth to have engaging activities and have access to adult mentors.

How do families apply for WCCC?
Contact the DSHS Customer Service Call Center at 1.877.501.2233 or apply online.

Providers, please contact us after July 1
Advocates working on this issue do want to hear from the field how the two policies  are being implemented after the July 1 date. If folks have comments, they should send them to Janet Schmidt, our Network Director, so that she can forward to the right people to make sure the system is working for families and providers.


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