Preventing the Collapse of Child Care

Last updated: March 22, 2023, at 5:01 a.m. PT

Originally published: June 8, 2020, at 10:32 a.m. PT

Laura Bush Blog Image

Recently, former First Lady, Laura Bush wrote an article praising the work of our President & CEO Loria Yeadon and the YMCA of Greater Seattle to provide childcare to essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Read Loria’s response below about the future of child care and the issues our nation is facing as we emerge from the current situation.

Subject:  The Collapse of Child Care in our Nation 

Dear Mrs. Bush, 

Thank you for your article at acknowledging the work of the YMCA Movement and our community response to escalating needs during these challenging times.  We are proud to serve as helpers to our community during this time of great need as we have for over 144 years in the Greater Seattle area.  

Needs are particularly dire in child care, as many providers have closed their doors to never re-open due to the increased costs and necessary safety and distancing requirement of providing care, limited access to public facilities (such as public schools) to provide care, and government reimbursements that are slow to be paid and far less than the actual cost of providing care. 

As we look ahead to economic recovery and the prospect of our parents returning to work, we are facing the potential collapse of the child care system which will have the greatest impact on working moms and marginalized communities whose child care options were already limited pre-COVID. The child care crisis is spilling over into summer as providers struggle to find locations to host summer camps. For example, at the YMCA of Greater Seattle, we served over 5,000 kids per week in day camp in 2019. Currently, due to space capacity limitations, we are only able to offer day camp for 1,000 youth per week. This a national crisis, and we need lots of helpers to call attention to these issues.   

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children, an organization of early learning professionals, estimates that half the country's child care providers are closed (NAEYC).
  • Without some form of financial intervention, 4.5 million child care slots are projected to disappear across the nation (NAEYC).
  • Thousands of Washington State child care providers are at risk of closing permanently, worsening the state’s current child care crisis where demand exceeds supply, parents spend months or even years on waiting lists, child care professionals are severely underpaid, and costs to operate continue to rise (Mounting Costs of Child Care Report).

Thank you for highlighting our work on behalf of community. We would appreciate your help to shine a brighter light on these issues in child care to ensure equitable access to economic recovery for all and affordable, accessible, quality care for our children, our future helpers.

In community,

Loria Yeadon
YMCA of Greater Seattle