Snohomish County announced Thursday it is awarding $7.6 million in pandemic recovery funding to six capital projects that will increase high-quality, affordable child care, including facilities in Edmonds and Lynnwood.
The funding will create nearly 360 new child-care slots across the county, and five of six funded projects are located in extreme child care deserts, the county said in an announcement. These awards are funded through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.
The county said that according to Child Care Aware, there are 62 child-care slots in the county for every 100 infants, toddlers or preschoolers whose parents work, far below the state average of 79 slots per 100 children.
“A major barrier to people joining or returning to the workforce is the lack of available and affordable child care,” said County Executive Dave Somers. “The effects of child care deserts across our county impact all of us, but they have an even more acute impact on women, who are pushed out of the job market at higher rates due to the extremely high cost of child care. That’s why we are expanding access for communities across our county, particularly in places where child care is already extremely scarce.”
All awarded projects originate from submissions to Snohomish County’s Child Care Facilities Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Increasing child care availability was identified as a top community priority during the County’s communitywide pandemic recovery engagement effort. All funded projects are detailed below.
Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW) – Lynnwood Neighborhood Center
Awarded $2 million
As part of the larger Lynnwood Neighborhood Center project, VOAWW will build new classroom space to serve 62 children including preschool, toddler and infant classrooms. Additional services available on site include family support, behavioral health integration, on-site medical services and community-based intensive services for children, youth and adults.
Rise Up Academy – Academy Expansion Project
Awarded $2 million
This project will construct a new child care and early learning facility that will increase Everett-based Rise Up Academy’s child-care capacity from 70 to 130 slots. The larger project, while not funded with this award, will also include long-term affordable housing units.
“At Rise Up Academy, we embrace excellence and serve as beacons of hope for children, families, and communities in their pursuit of breaking free from the cycle of poverty and academic challenges that plague BIPOC communities,” said Dr. Paul A. Stoot, Sr., CEO and executive director, Rise Up Academy. “Over the course of 23 remarkable years and with unwavering expertise in our field, we have unfailingly upheld our mission as the pioneers of an extraordinary educational journey that serves the whole child, the whole family, and the whole community, empowering generations to transcend poverty into promise.
Housing Hope – Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center
Awarded $1 million
Housing Hope will construct a new facility for Tomorrow’s Hope Child Development Center in Everett, doubling this program’s capacity to provide full-day, trauma-informed child care for children who have experienced homelessness, poverty or early traumas. The project will create 136 to 142 new child-care slots. This facility will also provide job training in the early childhood education field and on-site behavioral health services for children and parents.
Camp Fire Snohomish County – Camp Killoqua Child Care Center
Awarded $1 million
Camp Killoqua plans to renovate and transform an existing large open conference room into child-care classrooms and create a fenced play area. This project will create 32 additional child-care slots at the Stanwood-area location.
“We are thrilled to begin offering child care options in North County for families that have known us for years,” said Krissy Davis, Executive Director, Camp Fire Snohomish County. “Our new facility will incorporate our tried-and-true programming alongside with child care and connections to nature and the outdoors. We are so grateful to Snohomish County for helping us bring this dream to life!”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County – Edmonds Club Child Care
Awarded $1 milion
This funding will go toward construction of the new Edmonds Boys and Girls Club building at Civic Center Playfield that will expand child-care offerings from the current 70 slots to up to 120 slots once the expansion is complete.
Latino Educational Training Institute – Incubators for Families’ Success
Lynnwood-based Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI) will develop a 1,232-square-foot modular building and outdoor playground for a child development center beside their current office. This project will provide approximately 20 child-care slots for Latino and immigrant community members.
Once awarded projects begin serving children, anyone interested can learn more about the projects on the county’s new COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard.