United Way of Whatcom County recently received a grant from the WA State Commerce Department to formalize a collaborative partnership to address the child care shortage in our community.
This work is very exciting and of course we aren't doing it alone. In our typical Live United style, we're working in dynamic partnership with organizations like the Mt. Baker Foundation, Opportunity Council, Generations Forward, and our neighbors in the Whatcom Center for Philanthropy-- Chuckanut Health Foundation and Whatcom Community Foundation. As this issue becomes increasingly critical, so do the many individuals and organizations who care about helping local kids and families thrive and are jumping in to help. The list is long and we are grateful to live in a community so willing to take on big issues that affect the health and wellbeing of our friends and neighbbors.
United Way began focusing on child care in 2019, when it became very clear that the lack of child care capacity and affordability can be crippling for families who struggle financially. Not only is there a shortage of child care slots for kids in our community, the child care options that are available come at a very high cost. Child care for two young children can easily run upwards of $1,800 per month, often surpassing the cost of rent and making it the largest expense in a typical family budget.
According to recent ALICE data for Whatcom County, 77% of all female head of household families with children can't make ends meet. The cost of full-time child care for one infant can require up to 56% of a single parent's total household income, making it unattainable for many in our community.
Not having access to affordable child care keeps capable employees out of the work force, creates barriers to economic mobility, and inhibits financial stability. It also limits access to early learning opportunities for kids who need to show up to kindergarten ready to learn. Together, with a network of problem solvers, care providers, nonprofit agencies, and supporters like you, we're working to make a difference.
Your United Way donation supports child care and parent support programs at these organizations and more:
Thank you for giving kids and families the tools they need to be successful. With every individual, child, and family we put on a better path, we all win!
Want more information about this work? Check out this great summary from the Whatcom Child Care Coalition.
Looking for details about our Analysis of Child Care Demand in Whatcom County? Click here to read the preliminary report