WASHINGTON D.C. — Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn) joined lawmakers from the across the country at the White House Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to lower childcare costs and support providers.

Those in attendance addressed the critical challenges childcare costs are putting on families and how both federal and state lawmakers can work to reduce those burdens.

“Our childcare system is failing working families. Parents across our state and across the country are not only struggling to afford childcare, but they are also struggling to even find it in the first place. Parents are forced to quit their jobs and put their own plans on pause because they are unable to find the care they need for their children,” Wilson said. “We have taken great strides forward through legislation like the Fair Start for Kids Act, but it is evident we have much more work to do to ease these burdens.”

The meeting in D.C. comes just days before one of Wilson’s recently passed childcare bills goes into effect.

Senate Bill 5316, which takes effect on July 23, removes barriers to those looking to enter Washington’s childcare workforce. Under the law, applicants no longer have to pay burdensome background check fees. Background checks remain required under the law, but the associated fees – which are not only costly but create delays between the time someone accepts a job offer and when they can begin working – are waived.

Another one of Wilson’s childcare bills, Senate Bill 5225, goes into effect Oct. 1. SB 5225 increases access to affordable childcare by allowing more families and childcare workers to qualify for state-subsidized childcare through the Working Connections Child Care program.

“Gathering with fellow childcare advocates this week has provided an opportunity to learn and share ideas about how we can help families who are struggling. I am looking forward to bringing these ideas back to Washington state, so we can continue to build upon our work to ensure every family has the resources they need and that our children can reach their full potential,” Wilson said.