Looking for school-age child care? We can help. Visit our Back-to-School During COVID-19 page for free resources to help your search, and then search online or call our Family Center for free help.
Everything you need to find quality child care.
What to Ask?
Explore Different Types of Child Care
Finding high-quality child care is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child and your family. Studies show that children who get high-quality child care do better in school and, as adults, earn more. There are many different kinds of child care available.
Early Achievers Child Care
Licensed child care providers who join Early Achievers work with expert coaches to improve their skills in working with children and to improve their programs to make them the best they can be.
Licensed Child Care
Child care providers licensed by the state receive early learning training, important safety instruction, first aid training and they must pass criminal background checks. Their child care environments must also pass state inspection. Licensed child care can be provided in a family home setting or in a child care center.
Family, Friends, and Neighbors
Family, friends and neighbor (FFN) caregivers include grandparents, aunts and uncles, elders, older siblings, friends, neighbors and others who help families by providing child care. FFN caregivers are typically unlicensed and not regulated by the state.
During your search, call and visit several child care programs and get answers to important questions like these:
- How many children does each adult supervise?
- What is the typical daily schedule?
- How does the child care provider set limits and discipline?
- How will the provider help prepare my child for kindergarten?
- What are meals like?
- How will the provider honor our family’s culture?
Take our Child Care Quality Checklist with you when you tour programs. En español.
Watch our short Early Achievers Impact Videos to see how Early Achievers combined with great early childhood educators really make a big difference for young children.
Who to Call?
Child Care Aware of Washington helps you find high-quality, licensed child care near you. Use our online search tool or call our Family Center, Mon.-Fri. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Our child care experts are ready to help. We serve families in over 250 languages at no cost to families.
What about families experiencing homelessness?
We help families with young children who are experiencing homelessness find child care at no cost to them for up to 12 months. Child care offers young children experiencing homelessness a safe place to play and learn, healthy food and a chance to make friends. Homelessness is not neglect and Child Protective Services (CPS) will not take away your child because you are homeless. Click here to learn more about this program.
Need Help to Pay?
Many families need help paying for child care. We’ve listed some of the most common resources below.
In July – September 2021, families using Working Connections Child Care subsidies will not have to pay their child care copayments, thanks to the Fair Start for Kids Act, which became law in May 2021. To learn more about the financial benefits the new law provides for families who need child care, click here.
We help you find the right program
If you are unsure which program is for you, we offer free help through The Family Center.
Call the Family Center
What about families experiencing homelessness?
We help families who are experiencing homelessness find child care for up to 12 months at no cost to them. Child care offers young children experiencing homelessness a safe place to play and learn, healthy food and a chance to make friends. Homelessness is not neglect and Child Protective Services (CPS) will not take away your child because you are homeless. Click here to learn more about this program.
State and federal child care subsidies
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Child Care Subsidy Programs (Learn More)
- Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) helps eligible families pay for child care while they work, look for work or go to school. Families qualify for help based on their income.
- Seasonal Child Care helps seasonally employed agricultural families.
Military child care assistance programs are available through Child Care Aware of America (Learn More)
ECEAP (E-Cap) and Head Start (Learn More)
- ECEAP offers free pre-school programs for eligible 3- and 4-year-old children from low-income families or children with special needs or situations.
- Head Start helps children from birth to age 5 with early child care and pre-school, as well as offering pre-natal care to pregnant women. Learn More
Local programs for:
- Families who live or work in King County. Visit Child Care Resources online to learn more.
- Low- to moderate-income families in Seattle. Call 206-386-1050 or Learn More.
- Full-time college students in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. Learn More.
- Low- to moderate-income families in Kent, Auburn, Redmond and Bellevue. Call 206-323-4912. or email email@example.com or Apply Here.
Other ways to help pay
- American Rescue Plan 2021 Child Tax Credit Learn More
- The Child and Dependent Care Federal Tax Credit Learn More
- Flexible Spending Accounts Learn More
- Ask child care providers if they offer a sliding rate scale based on income, sibling discounts, or if they offer child care scholarships
Child Care Aware of Washington provides local services through six regional partners located across the state. These partners often offer resources beyond child care to help families in their regions.
CCA of Eastern WA
3307 E. 55th Ave., Ste. B Spokane, WA 99223 509-242-3405800-446-2229
- Pend Oreille
- Walla Walla
CCA of Central WA
5301 Tieton Dr., Ste. C Yakima, WA 98908-3478877-965-7109
CCA of Northwest WA
1111 Cornwall Ave., Ste. 200 Bellingham, WA 98225360-734-8396
- San Juan
CCA of King & Pierce Counties
Child Care Resources - King County
1225 S. Weller, Ste. 300 Seattle, WA 98144206-329-1011
Child Care Resources - Pierce County
1501 Pacific Ave., Ste. 305 Tacoma, WA 98402253-272-8000
CCA of Southwest WA
Educational Service District 112
2500 NE 65th Ave. Vancouver, WA 98661360-952-3358
CCA of Olympic Peninsula
Child Care Action Council
3729 Griffin Lane SE Olympia, WA 98501360-786-8907
- Grays Harbor
Resources for Finding Care for School-Agers
Resources for Back-to-School During COVID-19
Resources for Finding Summer Child Care/Camp Programs
Finding Child Care & Enrichment Programs During the Second COVID-19 Summer
Resources for Social-Emotional Mental Health
Holding Hope, Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
Resources for Talking With Children About Racism
Click here for a list of resources for talking with children about racism.
Resources for Federal Tax Credits/Refunds
Children’s Defense Fund Federal Child Tax Credit Resources
Other Community Resources
211 (Statewide database of community resources)
Apple Health (Free or low cost medical insurance program for children)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Washington Connection (Local resources in every county statewide)
Child Development Resources
Parent Help 123 – information on local resources, pregnancy, child development and programs for families
Help Me Grow Washington– free child development information and resources
Kindergarten Readiness – learn if your child is ready to start kindergarten
Vroom – ideas for turning everyday moments into brain-building opportunities for your infant, toddler or preschooler
Institute of Learning and Brain Science– online learning modules from the University of Washington about child development
Zero to Three – a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development
Learn the Signs, Act Early– an online resource for learning childhood developmental milestones from 0 – 5 years.
Bedtime Strategies for Healthy Sleep During COVID-19 – an online resource for everything related to a good night’s sleep
Our Family Center Newsletters– articles and information about child development
Early numeracy & math resources in English and Spanish – materials from Stanford University’s Development & Research Early Math Education Center
Child Care Aware of Washington seeks to help every child receive high-quality child care.