19. March 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus Call to Meeting, March 2023 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

I am proud to introduce Walla Walla and Dayton leaders in our child care meeting tomorrow. I think that this is the first time I have led with Walla Walla sources. Welcome them.

I have been less sparing with my Dayton friends. Joining us tomorrow is Shane McGuire from the County County Health District in Dayton. He led our “Rural Hospitals: Essential. Viable?” session last fall.  Those with good memories will remember, too, that we spotlighted Dayton in a face-to-face gathering at the Weinhard Hotel in the pre-Covid days.

You are all invited to join early at 6:15 pm tomorrow for a casual conversation and to meet each other.

18 April 2023
Child Care in Rural Washington
Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, YWCA-Walla Walla
Tabitha Haney, YWCA-Walla Walla
Eiledon McClellan Walla Walla Community College

Shane McGuire, Columbia County Health District

6:30 pm Thursday 20 April

Child Care in Rural Washington

A family affair

Our meeting next Thursday, the 20th, is a family affair. Not just because nurturing of our children is at the core of our families, but also because I have asked my family partner, Anne-Marie, to head up the program. Anne-Marie has a story to tell about her organization’s current effort to provide services in Columbia County. She has recruited colleagues to help tell the story and generalize its lessons.

Most of Ag and Rural’s programming brings new and, sometimes, peculiar topics to your attention. This is intentional. Childcare, though, is something with which you are already familiar.  So, bring your thoughts to our meeting. Share.
Policy teaser:
“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex” (Wash. Const., art. IX, § 1).

Why does the state not recognize a responsibility to educate its children from birth? (Child care is not financed as a public good like elementary education and secondary education.)

13 April 2023

And how are the children?

“And how are the children?” is the Masai greeting signaling that “the well-being of their children is the best way to determine the future health and prosperity of their whole society.”

Investment in our children’s early learning is a priority for the Ag and Rural Caucus. We have attended – quite properly – to children at risk.  We have insisted on the social value of the well-being of individual children. This is not welfare; it is smart investment. The mental and physical well-being of all our children defines not only our values as a community but the social and economic health of our community as well.

“Child care” underlines this mix of the private and the social. Parents see care of their children as a family affair. Take a step or two back, though, and most of see the societal effects of how well our children thrive. The family and its care of children are the root of our culture. We as a people have a stake in how our children are nurtured.

Uncomfortable with talk of culture? Try the hard economics. The availability, quality, and affordability of child care affect families, employers, and their employees. Families have to make choices of one parent staying home to care for the children or having that parent earn enough on the outside to pay for “center” childcare, assuming that acceptable childcare is available within commuting distance. Employers struggle recruiting employees if childcare is not locally available. Do we pay enough for child care? Can local non-profits afford to meet state regulations and pay employees enough to hold them? Can families afford to pay for child care?

On 20 April we will examine whether rural Washington qualifies as a child care desert. Who in rural Washington provides child care, how do we know it is good enough, is it affordable? And who cares?

22 March 2023


ChildCare Aware of Washington: https://childcareawarewa.org/
CCA-WA is a primary source for data and advocacy.
(I have summarized the provider data.)

Center for American Progress:  https://childcaredeserts.org/
CPA maybe coined the term “child care desert.” Use their interactive map comparing poverty scores and child care availabilty by census tract. Look for the anomalies.

Department of Children, Youth, and Familieshttps://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/earlylearning-childcare/find-child-care
Cross reference with the CCA material. 

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Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
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Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
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