The Child Care Collaborative Task Force will meet for the first time from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 10 at the Federal Way Community Center. The task force was created by state legislation in order to investigate how child care affordability and accessibility affects businesses and the workforce.

Two background reports were shared with the members of the task force prior to the meeting. One, called “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare,” addresses the connection between the quality of child care that children receive and the strength of the workforce today and into the future.

According to the report, nearly 11 million children in the United States under the age of 5 spend an average of 33 hours per week in nonparental care. Because the period from birth to age 5 is such a critical time for a child’s development, it’s extremely important to make sure that children are receiving the best care during that period, the report states.

The second report, “2017 Report, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care,” lays out some staggering numbers relating to the cost of child care in the United States and in Washington in particular. According to the report, Washington is one of the top 10 least affordable states for both infant and toddler care, with center-based infant care costing an average of $13,742 per year, and center-based toddler care costing an average of $11,746 per year.

The July 10 meeting is open to the public. The Federal Way Community Center is located at 876 South 333rd Street.