About Us

Child Care Aware of Washington is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Washington has access to high-quality child care and early learning programs. Created by state statute in 1986 and incorporated in 1989, it is the only statewide child care resource and referral program in Washington.

Our Vision

All Washington children experience high quality, racially equitable early care and education opportunities that empower them to dream and flourish.

Our Mission

Child Care Aware of Washington is our state’s most thorough and accessible source of information and support in early care and education (birth to 12 years).

We work alongside families, child care providers, caregivers, and communities to meet the diverse and specialized learning needs of every child in our state. We use data and story to influence policy makers, system leaders and our partners to ensure every child in Washington has equitable access to quality learning experiences.

Our Strategic Plan and Commitment to Racial Equity

We’ve adopted a Strategic Plan for 2021 to 2024! Read about our renewed commitments and goals here.

Child Care Aware of Washington stands with and supports all families of color who encounter the long‐lingering impacts of racism. Read our Racial Equity Policy here.


Staff and Board of Trustees

Meet our trustees and staff

Child Care Aware of Washington has 25 staff members in its Tacoma-based headquarters and contracted field staff throughout Washington with its regional partners. The nonprofit organization is overseen by a volunteer board of trustees who represent key stakeholders throughout the state.

Board of Trustees

Lois Martin, Board Chair
Director, Community Day Center for Children
Phoebe Sade, Board Vice Chair
Chief Executive Officer, Child Care Resources
Vincent Alfonso, Treasurer
Professor, Gonzaga University
Jennifer Chang Hetterly, Board Secretary
Policy, Advocacy & Communications Consultant
Palo Alto, CA/Tacoma, WA
Angela Griffin
Executive Director, Launch
Karma Hugo, Former Director of Early Learning, Office of
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Lorna Spear, Ph.D.
Director of Early Learning and Intervention Services, Spokane Public
Schools – Retired

LaKia Morrison
Human Resources Consultant, Microsoft

Michelle Rahl-Lewis
Assistant Director of Early Learning, Tacoma School District
Laura Wells
Executive Director, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids – Retired
Jan Thoemke
Chief Operating Officer, Community Minded Enterprises

Deeann Burtch Puffert
Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Deeann guides strategic vision for the statewide CCA WA system by working collaboratively with our six regional Child Care Aware of Washington regions and a multitude of early learning and community partners. Having spent 30 years in leadership with Child Care Resources/ CCA of King and Pierce Counties, Deeann is committed to growing and developing new relationships and partnerships that will continue to move child care and informal caregiving into full partnership within the early learning landscape.

Cameron Joy-Kurtz
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Cameron joined Child Care Aware of Washington in May 2014. Cameron believes that access to high-quality child care has a multi-generational impact on our communities and our economy. As Executive Assistant, Cameron supports the CEO, acts as liaison to staff and key partners in Tacoma and around the state, and prospects and writes grants. Cameron studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland before graduating from the University of Colorado.

Sandy Maldonado
Director of Early Learning

Sandy has worked with children and families for 20 years. Teaching in infant programs, preschool, school age care, and providing coaching and consultation for QRIS systems. She’s worked in private child care, state-funded and federally-funded programs. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Management and Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College. Most recently she has joined the CCA of WA’s Program Management team for Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system.

Sandy is passionate about securing equitable high-quality early learning opportunities for families, and ensuring all educators have opportunities for culturally responsive and relevant professional development.

Leah Irwin
Program Manager of Quality Initiatives

Leah just joined the CCA of WA team in January 2019. She has 20 years of early learning and child development professional experience. She has experience in child care, preschool teaching, Child Protective Services, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), ECE university teaching, and Head Start/Early Head Start management. She is in the process of becoming a Program for Infant and Toddler Care (PITC) certified trainer and is experienced in delivering trainings to adult learners.

Leah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington University, and a Master of Science degree in Family and Child Studies from Miami University of Ohio. She is passionate about high quality child care and early learning for all of our State’s children, with a particular passion for our most vulnerable infants and toddlers. Leah spends her spare time with her husband, two daughters, many family pets, and doing crafting, gardening, and most recently, horse activities.

Patricia Coss-Maxwell
Project Manager for Professional Development

Patty joined the CCA of WA team in 2022. She coordinates training and supports for Coach and RBPD Leads, leads planning for the Elevate Early Learning Conference, and oversees LMS implementation and support. Patty was formerly an Early Achievers Coach at CCA of King & Pierce Counties, a child care provider, a CCA of WA Scholar, and is a Mentor and Adjunct Instructor at North Seattle College (NSC).

Patty has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Certificate in Adult Education for College Institution from Eastern WA University and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education from North Seattle College. Patty is passionate about early childhood education, math, language, animals, and football (go Steelers!). In her free time, she likes to play with her puppy, Frida.

April Ferguson
Program Engagement Specialist

April has worked in Early Childhood Education for 6 years. She has worked as a center director, preschool teacher, and kindergarten teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is currently working towards a bachelor’s in Business Management. She is extremely passionate about ensuring that young children have strong foundations for life through high quality learning opportunities. In her off time, she homeschools her kids and enjoys family time.

Meka Riggins
Director of Workforce Development

A strong believer in the power of higher education, Meka is responsible for managing our scholarship program. Her work directly touches the lives of every scholar we serve by ensuring the program runs smoothly and efficiently for everyone. She joined Child Care Aware of Washington the fall of 2011. Prior to that Meka was the development and scholarship coordinator at Tacoma Community College.

Skyler Smith
Scholarships Coordinator

Skyler joined Child Care Aware of Washington in April 2022 and works with her colleagues to support scholars in their academic goals through CCA of WA’s available scholarships. She believes strongly in encouraging diversity and inclusion, having  supported non-traditional students in previous positions and appreciated the unique perspectives that students bring to the field. Skyler holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Central Washington University.

Abigail Shade
Scholarships Coordinator

Abigail joined Child Care Aware of WA in September of 2022, where she supports scholars in pursuing and achieving their academic goals through the CCA of WA Scholarship program. She has previously supported youth and families as a Program Coordinator in local nonprofits, as a curriculum consultant for a play-based school in Luang Prabang, Laos, and as a Camp Director and Camp Counselor in California and Minnesota. Abigail brings a community-oriented lens, and justice and equity focus to her work, and believes in the importance of building strong and reciprocal relationships. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Anthropology, Education Studies, and Spanish Language Studies from the University of Puget Sound.

Ryan Pricco
Director of Policy & Advocacy

Ryan coordinates all advocacy efforts for Child Care Aware of Washington and is an effective voice in Olympia for children, families and caregivers during the state legislative session. When the Legislature is not in session Ryan focuses on grassroots mobilization, system messaging, representing us at key meetings with state-level partners, staffing the board of trustees’ meetings, and assisting the executive director. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington.

Michel Nelson
Director of Family & Community Engagement

Michel joined Child Care Aware of Washington in the fall of 2016 in a new position to expand support for child care and early learning from businesses and diverse community partners. In addition, Michel coordinates Child Care Aware of Washington’s Family Center with the organization’s regional staff. With a background in marketing, membership and communications, she has led efforts in the nonprofit and public sectors that resulted in innovative partnerships and statewide public awareness campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University.

Alex Hanel
Mobilization Manager

Alex joined Child Care Aware of Washington in 2020 and is responsible for coordinating mobilization activities within the CCA of WA system. Working with CCA of WA’s regional partners, he supports the recruitment, training and coordination of local child care advocates, and works to enhance and expand advocacy efforts on behalf of the child care industry statewide. Alex brings experience in communications with nonprofit childhood development programs, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from Saint Louis University.

Gracie Martinez
Family Services Program Manager

Gracie Martinez joined the CCA of WA team in 2022. Gracie manages the Family Call Center, Family, Friend, and Neighbor Play & Learn statewide system, and the Homeless Navigation program. She has a mix of experience working for families in early learning environments, systems work as a non-profit consultant, and advocacy through her many board and committee positions for early learning associations. Gracie holds a Master of Public Administration from the Evans School -University of WA. In her free time, Gracie enjoys spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, and collecting books to grow her home library.

Rosie Delcid
Communications Specialist

Rosie joined Child Care of Aware of Washington in November 2021 with a background in communications, development, community organizing, and finance. She attends Evergreen State College, where she is working on her Visual Sociology bachelor’s degree. In her studies, she hopes to help BIPOC communities break communication barriers and negative stigmas on mental health by providing culturally relevant therapy and seminars. Rosie is excited to work with the Advocacy, Communications, and Engagement (ACE) team to increase engagement with childcare providers and families around Washington state. When not working or in school, Rosie enjoys spending time re-connecting with her indigenous roots, painting, and recently learning the art of tattooing.

Sarah Kelley
Director of Data and Evaluation

Sarah is passionate about increasing quality, access and professionalism in early childhood education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development, early childhood education and care from Washington State University and a master’s degree in policy studies from the University of Washington. She has experience in resource and referral, family advocacy and teaching in Head Start/ECEAP and child care centers. In her graduate research she focused on early learning quality and child outcomes.

Kathryn Arthur
Business and Data Analyst

Kathryn recently joined Child Care of Aware of Washington in May of 2020 after supporting child care providers as an Early Achiever’s Coach for over 4 years. She is continuing her work in early learning as a member of the data team and is excited to utilize data to support continuous quality improvement. Kathryn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling with experience in research and data. When not working, Kathryn enjoys spending time in the barn with the animals and road trips to Alberta and Montana.

Alan Strand
Director of Finance and Operations

Alan supports Child Care Aware of Washington’s mission by making sure finance and accounting tasks happen smoothly. He has more than 15 years of accounting, finance and business management experience with nonprofit organizations in Washington and California. His extensive experience in nonprofit accounting, coupled with an ability to communicate affably and effectively about the topic, led to his role at the University of Washington, Tacoma, as faculty in their Nonprofit Management Certificate program.

Wysteria Oliver
Contracts and Grants Manager

Wysteria manages our organization’s contracts with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, regional partners, and our growing portfolio of philanthropic and private grant award contracts. She works with network and region leaders to ensure that expectations and deliverables are met and that financial resources are fully and properly expended. Most recently, Wysteria was Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist with the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning and navigated a complex system of contracts, budgets, and partners.

Nannette Ward
Finance Supervisor

Nannette supports the overall accounting process of Child Care Aware of Washington. She previously worked for the University of Washington (Seattle and Tacoma). She is currently working to earn her bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Art University. Nannette thrives on building positive changes in the lives of children and parents alike, and since becoming a part of CCA, has helped foster exciting interactions with staff and community partners.

Tiffany Khanphongphane
Office Coordinator

Tiffany recently joined Child Care Aware of Washington, bringing with her seven years of office coordinator experience. She is always looking for ways to make improvements and provide great customer service. Tiffany studied at Renton Technical College where she received her Accounting Clerk Degree.

Janet Fraatz
Director of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Janet joined the CCA WA team in March 2020 to launch the implementation of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation services here in Washington. She holds a MS in Child Development and Family Studies, a MA and CAGS in Mental Health Counseling, and is a graduate of the Harris Institute certificate program in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Janet has over 25 years’ experience in service to children and families, including her work in program management, staff supervision, and early childhood mental health consultation with Smart Support, Arizona’s statewide IECMHC program. In addition to her work in the IECMHC field, Janet has experience in Head Start/Early Head Start program management, public and independent elementary school counseling and a range of early care and education direct service and quality improvement efforts.

Celeste Farmer
Supervisor of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Celeste joined the CCA WA team in September of 2021 as the Program Supervisor for the Holding Hope Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program. Celeste holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California and Washington. Celeste became passionate about IECMHC when she began working as a Holding Hope Mental Health Consultant in the Olympic Peninsula in Spring of 2020. Along with her experiences as a Mental Health Consultant Celeste has experience as an Assistant Director, Wraparound Clinician, and Dean of Students. Celeste brings over 7 years of experience supervising staff and overseeing programs with a strengths-based approach.

Elena Carrasco
Statewide Bi-lingual Spanish Holding Hope Mental Health Consultant

Elena joined the CCA WA team in March of 2022 as the CCA Statewide Bi-lingual Spanish Holding Hope Mental Health Consultant.  Elena has over 16 years of experience in childhood services, Early Intervention, parent support and advocacy, Special Education, and program management. She has worked in inclusive classrooms supporting children with varying abilities and their families. She is committed to serving children, families, and providers in reaching their goals.




Help us make a difference for high-quality child care and early learning programs for every child in Washington State.

Child Care Aware of Washington is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity among our staff. We strongly encourage people of color, people who speak a second language and people with disabilities to apply.

We are hiring!

Child Care Aware of Washington seeks an organized and innovative Program Manager for Early Learning. Find more information and apply here.

Child Care Aware of Washington seeks a detail-oriented, strategic Database Administrator and Reporting Analyst to join our team! Find more information and apply here.

The Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center is hiring!

The CCA of WA Family Center seeks a Family Resource Center Navigator. These roles assist families who are experiencing homelessness to meet their child care needs. You can find more information and apply here.

Looking for a job in child care? Check Washington Child Care Business Jobs, part of Child Care Business Edge.


Regional partners

Child Care Aware of Washington provides local services through six regional partners located across the state. You can view a map of our regions with contact information here, or click on a region below.

Child Care Aware of Central Washington

Catholic Family & Child Service

5301 Tieton Dr., Ste. C Yakima, WA 98908-3478


Counties Served:

  • Adams
  • Chelan
  • Douglas
  • Ferry
  • Okanogan
  • Grant
  • Kittitas
  • Yakima

Child Care Aware of Eastern Washington

Community-Minded Enterprises

3307 E. 55th Ave., Ste. B Spokane, WA 99223

800-446-2229 509-242-3405

Counties Served:

  • Asotin
  • Benton
  • Franklin
  • Columbia
  • Garfield
  • Lincoln
  • Pend Oreille
  • Spokane
  • Stevens
  • Walla Walls
  • Whitman

Child Care Aware of King and Pierce Counties

Child Care Resources - King County

1225 S. Weller, Ste. 300 Seattle, WA 98144


Counties Served:

  • King

Child Care Resources - Pierce County

1501 Pacific Ave., Ste. 305 Tacoma, WA 98402


Counties Served:

  • Pierce

Child Care Aware of the Olympic Peninsula

Child Care Action Council

3729 Griffin Lane SE Olympia, WA 98501


Counties Served:

  • Clallam
  • Grays Harbor
  • Jefferson
  • Kitsap
  • Mason
  • Thurston

Child Care Aware of Southwest Washington

Educational Service District 112

2500 NE 65th Ave. Vancouver, WA 98661


Counties Served:

  • Pacific
  • Lewis
  • Clark
  • Cowlitz
  • Klickitat
  • Skamania
  • Wahkiakum

Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington

Opportunity Council

1111 Cornwall Ave., Ste. 200 Bellingham, WA 98225


Counties Served:

  • Island
  • San Juan
  • Whatcom
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish


Contact us

Child Care Aware of Washington
1001 Pacific Avenue, Suite 400
Tacoma, WA 98402

General phone: 253-383-1735
Toll-free: 1-866-416-4321
TTY: 1-800-833-6388
Fax: 253-572-4140

To reach our Scholarships Program:

To reach our Family Center for child care referrals:

To email us a general question:

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