2SSB 5595

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.

C 337 L 13

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Concerning child care reform.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Billig, Litzow, Darneille, Fain, Hargrove, McAuliffe, Harper, Nelson, Hobbs, Mullet, Frockt, Cleveland, Rolfes, Kohl-Welles, Shin, Kline and Conway).

Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections

Senate Committee on Ways & Means

House Committee on Early Learning & Human Services

House Committee on Appropriations

Background: The Working Connections Child Care Program (WCCC) provides subsidies to child care providers serving families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Subsidy payments go directly to child care providers. Families make a co-payment to receive child care while they work or receive training for work. Co-pays for WCCC are currently $15 for families with income between 0 and 82 percent of the federal poverty line; $65 for income between 82 and 137.5 percent of the federal poverty line; and $65 plus a multiplier of one-half for every dollar of income over 137.5 percent of the federal poverty line. A person receiving WCCC while receiving training for work is generally limited to basic education or vocational training.

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) has the authority to establish and implement policies in WCCC. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has the responsibility for verifying a family's eligibility to receive WCCC subsidies.

In 2007, the Legislature required DEL to establish a voluntary quality rating and improvement system applicable to licensed or certified child care centers and homes, and early education programs. In response, DEL worked with the University of Washington to develop the Early Achievers program. Early Achievers establishes a common set of expectations and standards that define, measure, and improve the quality of early learning settings. All WCCC providers have the option of participating in Early Achievers.

In 2010, the Legislature required DEL to coordinate with DSHS and contract with an independent consultant to evaluate and recommend the optimum system for the eligibility determination process. The evaluation was to include an analysis of lean management processes that, if adopted, could improve the cost effectiveness and delivery of eligibility determination. The Aclara Group delivered its report to DEL on October 31, 2012.

Summary: When providing services to parents applying for or receiving WCCC, DEL must provide training to department employees on professionalism. Further, DSHS must:

A legislative task force on child care improvement is established. Membership is prescribed, including legislative representation. Staff support shall be provided by Senate Committee Services and the House Office of Program Research. The task force must provide a report and recommendations to the legislature no later than December 31, 2013 addressing the following issues:

The Legislature finds that the recommendations in the Aclara Group report will result in streamlining the child care system to improve access and customer service and should be followed. By December 1, 2013, DEL and DSHS must:

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)




(House receded/amended)




(Senate concurred)


July 28, 2013.