Washington apprentices get help with child care


First-year apprentices in Washington state may qualify for reduced-cost child care.

Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) is a state subsidy program that helps families pay for child care. In the past, a household had to make 60% or less of the state median income, less than $5,614 per month for a family of four, to qualify for the program. That excluded many union apprentices, who made too much to qualify for the program but still struggled with the cost of child care. According to a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, child care costs the average family in Washington more than $14,000 a year per child — $3,000 more than tuition to the University of Washington.

Lawmakers this year passed House Bill 1525 to increase the income threshold to 75% of the state median income (about $7,000 monthly for a family of four) for families with at least one adult in their first year of a state-registered apprenticeship. The change took effect Oct. 1.

WCCC drops the monthly cost of child care to $0 to $215, depending on a family’s income. 

To qualify, the family must live in Washington. Apprentices may work outside of Washington, so long as their program meets Washington’s registered apprenticeship standards. That means apprentices with unions that operate in both states, such as IBEW Local 48, may qualify. WCCC can also pay for out-of-state child care providers for Washington families that work in Portland and use a day care there, for example.

Parents can check their eligibility and apply for the program online at WashingtonConnection.org or by phone at 1-844-626-8687. Almost every licensed child care facility accepts the subsidy, but if you already have a provider, you should check with them first.


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