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Section I
Welcome to LEAP

“Child care in the U.S. is in crisis. For working parents, especially those with young children, there isn’t enough affordable quality childcare. This impacts their ability to go to work and, ultimately, the country’s economy. Even before the pandemic destabilized the industry, child care providers operated on razor thin margins, often without the ability to invest in wages and recruit more employees to expand services." - Bipartisan Policy Center

This is about a system, and society, in crisis – and how YOU can change this story.

Too many parents and families struggle to afford and find high-quality child care for their children. This crisis has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to widespread closures of child care programs and increased economic hardship for families, employers, and communities across the country.

The high cost of child care and low wages for child care workers are major factors contributing to the child care crisis in the United States. The lack of available child care options, especially in rural areas, is also a significant issue. This can make it difficult for families to access the child care they need, especially if they have limited financial resources or live in an area with few or no child care facilities – in fact, over half of all Washingtonians currently live in a child care desert.

Kindergarten Guide

The low reimbursement rates from government programs can also be a challenge for child care providers, as they may not be able to cover the costs of operating their business. This can lead to financial struggles and even closures, further exacerbating the shortage of child care options. The high turnover and staff vacancies in the child care industry can also be a problem, as they can lead to inconsistency and a lack of stability for children and their families. This can be particularly challenging for young children, who may benefit from the continuity and consistency of having the same caregivers over time.

The consequences – and costs – of the child care crisis are significant. Many parents are unable to work or are forced to work reduced hours because they cannot find reliable child care for their children. This can lead to financial insecurity for families, and disastrous productivity hits for employers. Additionally, the lack of affordable, high-quality child care can produce a lifetime of negative effects on children's development and overall well-being. Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of 5? Research has shown that high-quality care helps children thrive, and be prepared for success in school and beyond.


The child care crisis is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. However, we can take many important and impactful steps today to stabilize families and child care programs while creating a strong foundation for a future thriving child care and early learning system. Early learning and child care are fundamental pieces of the infrastructure needed to ensure a stable workforce and make work possible – for employees and employers – and make Washington the best place in the nation to raise a family. 


Ensuring you have the resources and tools needed to positively affect policy outcomes is vital to honoring your commitment to Washington’s kids, families, and economy. 

Through the Legislator Education and Action Project (LEAP), we’ll dive deep into core concepts and foundational topics related to early learning and care – through the leading research, compelling presentations, and accessible educational curriculum – all to empower you, our state’s leaders, with tools and resources to help build strong and thriving futures for Washington’s kids, families, and workforce.


Join the Association for Washington Business, Children’s Campaign Fund Action, and your fellow lawmakers today to leap forward into our future together.​

ABOUT THE PARTNERS: The Association of Washington Business (the oldest and largest statewide business association) and Children’s Campaign Fund Action (the new advocacy arm of the state’s longest running nonpartisan PAC focused on children’s issues) are pleased to present a powerful new initiative that will transform Washington for generations to come. The absence of a comprehensive education program and consistent education, paired with champions retiring from the legislature, has created a gap in knowledge and commitment that we are positioned to address. As leaders in our respective arenas, we will leverage expertise, resources, and relationships across the business, political, and advocacy sectors.

To learn more about this dynamic new project and frequently asked questions, click here.


Association for Washington Business:

Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes nearly 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. AWB also has a longstanding record of working on behalf of companies in many other industries such as retail, wholesale, communications, services, agriculture, transportation, hospitality and construction. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing and Microsoft, more than 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For the last several years, AWB has been working with early learning/childcare advocates, partners and stakeholders to study the industry and develop strategies for developing a strong, safe, affordable and accessible childcare industry to support Washington state families.


Children’s Campaign Fund Action:

Formed in 1990, Children’s Campaign Fund (CCF) is one of the longest standing nonpartisan PACs focused on children’s issues in the country dedicated to electing champions for children, youth, and families, and holding those leaders accountable. Children’s Campaign Fund Action (CCFA) is CCF’s new political advocacy arm. Launched in 2022 to amplify and expand our movement as a legally separate but affiliated organization, CCFA is dedicated to educating state legislators, agencies, key agency and legislative staff, and other elected officials on policy issues impacting children, youth, and families, including basic needs, childcare and early learning, child welfare, intellectual and developmental disabilities, juvenile court reform, youth development, and more; through the education provided to legislators and other key elected officials and staff, positively affect policy outcomes and state investments that eliminate racial disparities and other inequities impacting children, youth, and families across Washington State.

We are profoundly grateful for the generous support of Connie Ballmer – a dedicated champion of early learning and childcare – and the Ballmer Group for their tremendous investment in this pilot project.

Click here to view/download a PDF of the LEAP Primer.

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