Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Early Learning & Human Services Committee

ESSB 5157

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Regulating child care subsidies.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Carrell, Pearson, Schoesler, Hill and Fain).

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Requires the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to take specific action when a child care provider is found to have committed a willful or knowing act that is a violation of subsidy payment rules.

  • Requires the DEL to provide written copy of rules regarding subsidy payments to exempt providers at initial licensure or at provider registration.

Hearing Date: 3/19/13

Staff: Lindsay Lanham (786-7120).


When a family qualifies for subsidized child care, the state pays a portion of the child care fee to the child care provider and the parent is responsible for making a copayment. Subsidy determinations are based upon several factors including, but not limited to, family size and income.

In Washington, there are different types of licensed child care settings. Parents can choose from licensed child care centers, child care family homes, and before-school or after-school programs. Additionally, the DEL offers licensed-exempt child care as an option for parents. Although a licensed-exempt provider does not receive state supervision and is not regulated by the state, the licensed-exempt provider can receive state subsidy. Licensed-exempt care is facilitated in a home by a relative, friend, or neighbor. Exempt-licensed child care providers must also be 18 years or older, be a citizen or legal resident of the US, and pass a background check.

Summary of Bill:

The DEL is required to ensure that child care providers understand rules pertaining to subsidy payments when the child care provider initially violates subsidy payment rules. Additionally, the DEL is mandated to stop subsidy payments to a child care provider who knowing violates subsidy payment rules twice. Finally, the DEL is required to provide exempt child care providers a written copy of rules pertaining to subsidy payments at initial application or provider registration.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on March 14, 2013.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.