Governor signs child care subsidy bill

Governor Chris Gregoire just an hour ago signed House Bill 3141, which directs DEL to create a 12-month authorization period in the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy program for families with children enrolled in Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), or a Head Start or Early Head Start program. This change goes into effect July 1.  (See photo of bill signing ceremony at right.)

Currently, WCCC authorization periods for families vary based on several factors, and families have to reapply again when the authorization period is complete. This can sometimes lead to gaps in coverage, during which parents have to pull their children out of care.

DEL and the Department of Social and Health Services will report to the Legislature by September 1, 2011, about whether this change promotes more stable child care enrollment for children, what program costs are, and whether the change results in any administrative savings. We also will be submitting recommendations for whether to expand the 12-month authorization period to additional families.

The Governor vetoed other sections, including section 3, which would have directed the Washington WorkFirst subcabinet to reevaluate the WorkFirst program and develop recommendations to redesign the state’s use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds. The Governor said she already has asked her WorkFirst subcabinet to begin this work (DEL Director Bette Hyde sits on this subcabinet).