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.

1

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

LaKia Morrison
Human Resources Consultant, Microsoft
Bothell

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

Deeann Burtch Puffert
Chief Executive Officer
deeann@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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.


Ann Chihan
Program Manager of Quality Initiatives
ann@childcareawarewa.org

Ann is a lifelong learner with a passion for inspiring the mind, spirit and creativity of children and adults. She has worked in the early learning field for over 18 years. She has worked in a wide range of settings, as a toddler teacher, pre-k teacher, center director, Early Achievers coach, MERIT-Approved trainer and Coach Lead.  Ann holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Washington University. She has built deep connections within communities to advance work addressing the child care desserts and employer engagement. When not at work, Ann can be found in a hammock with a good book or out wandering in the woods.


Patricia Coss-Maxwell
Project Manager for Professional Development
patricia@childcareawarewa.org

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.


Heather Cacak
Child Care Business Specialist
heather@childcareawarewa.org

Heather joined CCA in April of 2022 and has performed a variety of teaching, mentoring, coaching, and supervisory roles within the field of education. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Human Development. Heather is a lifelong learner and is currently working toward a doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education Leadership. Her passion for early childhood education is sparked by a deep need to help children, families, and ECE practitioners feel successful. She also has a true love for cooking and enjoys traveling along the PNW coast.


April Ferguson
Program Engagement Specialist
april@childcareawarewa.org

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
meka@childcareawarewa.org

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.


Ivonne Pereira
Scholarships Coordinator
ivonne@childcareawarewa.org

Ivonne joined Child Care Aware of Washington in January 2017. She has previous experience working in the fields of education, social work and advocacy with refugee and immigrant children and adults from various cultural backgrounds. She believes in empowering those who need it most, as it is her belief every person deserves the opportunity to flourish. Ivonne is bilingual in English and Spanish and has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of North Texas.


Skyler Smith
Scholarships Coordinator
skyler@childcareawarewa.org

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.

Ryan Pricco
Director of Policy & Advocacy
ryan@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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.


Rosie Delcid
Communications Specialist
rosie@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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@childcareawarewa.org

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.

 

3

Employment

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 a strategic, culturally responsive Project Manager for Professional Development. Bilingual candidates are preferred for this role. For more information and to apply, read the job description here.

Child Care Aware of Washington seeks a passionate, organized culturally Scholarships Coordinator to join our team! For more information and to apply, read the job description here.

 

The Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center is hiring!

The CCA of WA Family Center seeks a Family Engagement Specialist and 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.

Our regional partners are hiring!

Child Care Aware of Southwest Washington seeks a Bilingual Early Learning Advanced Trainer. For more information about the position and the application process, read the job announcement here or here in Spanish.

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

4

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

877-965-7109
Website

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
Website

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

206-329-1011
Website

Counties Served:

  • King

Child Care Resources - Pierce County

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

253-272-8000
Website

Counties Served:

  • Pierce

Child Care Aware of the Olympic Peninsula

Child Care Action Council

3729 Griffin Lane SE Olympia, WA 98501

360-786-8907
Website

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

360-952-3358
Website

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

360-734-8396
Website

Counties Served:

  • Island
  • San Juan
  • Whatcom
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish

5

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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