City of Seattle Provides Free Child Care for Eligible Families Through the End of the Year

City Urges Families to Sign Up For High-Quality, Affordable Child Care Through the Child Care Assistance Program

SEATTLE (November 20, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the City of Seattle will provide free child care for income-eligible families for the remainder of 2020. The Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) will cover all remaining costs for families participating in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will cover all remaining costs for participating families who currently receive a scholarship from the City. Both DEEL and SPR currently have space available in their child care programs and families are encouraged to sign up today.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has put an immense strain on so many Seattle families, and the transition to virtual learning has made the need for high-quality, affordable child care even more acute,” said Mayor Durkan. “The necessary new statewide COVID-19 restrictions could exacerbate the financial hardship already experienced by so many Seattle families. The City of Seattle is making our child care free for the remainder of the year, and we’re urging Seattle families to sign up now for this affordable, accessible child care option.”

“As the growing COVID-19 pandemic continues to push more working families into deeper economic crisis, it is critical for the City of Seattle to support essential workers with ongoing child care needs. Access to free, safe, quality child care can ease at least one of the many challenges families are currently experiencing with the pandemic and renewed state restrictions. I am grateful to our network of child care providers for stepping up to help care for Seattle’s children during these trying times,” said Council President M. Lorena González.

There are currently 301 families participating in the City’s Child Care Assistance Program, which provides vouchers to families with an income that falls between 200.1% and 350% of the Federal Poverty Level (up to roughly $90,000/year for a family of four). Currently, 31% of families served by CCAP are essential workers. This action by the City will pay for 100% of each family’s copay, and will save each CCAP family approximately $748 each month. Visit seattle.gov/ccap or call 206-386-1050 for more information or to apply to the Child Care Assistance Program. 

“During these hard times, all of us in early learning need to come together to support the families we care for,” said Nick Terrones, Program Director at Daybreak Star Preschool at United Indians, one of the City’s CCAP providers. “This simple act of covering child care copays in our communities demonstrates DEEL’s commitment to do just that. With their costs covered for two months, families will have one less thing to think and worry about. Having extra funds allows families to put a bit of extra food on the table, keep the lights on, put gas in the car—many things that are often taken for granted.”

“CCAP has a long history helping families alleviate the costs of child care,” said DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle. “This fall, we’ve heard from both providers and families about the difficulties families are facing in covering the cost of care due to school closures and other economic impacts. Our team at DEEL is thrilled about this opportunity to put more money back into families’ pockets as we enter the holiday season.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation will also cover the copay for families enrolled in SPR child care who currently received a scholarship – meaning a 90% subsidy – from the City. This SPR copay relief will impact 145 families and will save each family an average of $169.50 each month. All Seattle Parks and Recreation child care sites have space available (Yesler & Meadowbrook only have partial week availability). Families interested in signing up for SPR child care can explore available options here.

“Seattle families are struggling. Seattle Parks and Recreation has scholarships to make child care affordable to families, and we are pleased to be able to do more for families by relieving them of the copay. We still have space for youth in free learning hubs, for younger kids in child care, and for all through virtual recreation, and are here to support families during this challenging time,” said Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the City of Seattle has worked quickly to launch COVID-19 relief programs including rent relief, expanding shelter for people experiencing homelessness, grocery vouchers for working families, direct cash assistance for immigrants and refugees, and financial assistance to small businesses. Residents and businesses can find a list of existing COVID-19 relief resources and policies on this website.