Employee turnover and absenteeism caused by Washington’s lack of child care resulted in a $2 billion hit to employers, and an overall hit to the state’s gross domestic product of $6.5 billion last year, according to a new report from the Washington State Child Care Collaborative Task Force.

The Washington State Child Care Collaborative Task Force was created in 2018 by the state legislature to identify new ways to expand access to high-quality, affordable child care. Multiple partners, including the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Association of Washington Business, and Child Care Aware of Washington contributed to the report.

Some key findings in the Mounting Costs of Child Care report include:

  • 60 percent of Washington homes with children under age six have all adults working;
  • 27 percent of parents quit their job or left school/training due to child care issues;
  • 27 percent of parents changed their hours to part-time from full-time due to child care issues;
  • 67 percent of Washington employers report absenteeism caused by child care issues; and
  • 9 percent of parents were terminated from work due to child care issues.

According to Child Care Aware of Washington, solving the issues around child care in Washington requires increased public, business, and philanthropic investment in child care and early learning programs. The organization advocates for increased investment, both public and private, and for increased access to high-quality care.