OLYMPIA – The Senate on Tuesday passed Senator Claire Wilson’s (D-Auburn) bill to remove licensing and background check fees for those entering Washington’s childcare workforce.  

State law requires critical background checks when the Department of Children, Youth and Families is looking to approve applicants.   

However, the associated fees are often a barrier for applicants. Not only are they costly but processing them creates delays between the time someone accepts a job offer and when they can begin work.  

DCYF pays these fees for those entering Washington’s foster care and relative or kinship care workforce, but not for employees of child-placing agencies, group care or contracted service providers.  

Senate Bill 5316 looks to remove that strain on childcare applicants by waiving these fees.  

“We are struggling to fill jobs in our childcare workforce, and we cannot afford to lose out on applicants because of a barrier we can easily remove,” said Sen. Wilson. “This bill is an easy step to build up and diversify that workforce.”  

SB 5316 would also cut another fee that hampers the expansion of childcare opportunities in our state. Washington law requires childcare businesses to pay an annual licensure fee. This fee is $30 for family home providers and $125 for childcare centers for the first 12 children plus $12 for each additional child. Under SB 5316, a temporary pause on this fee would be  made permanent.