Childcare for Working Families

Lastly, we have a story in early stages about people coming together to increase childcare. Jefferson
County is considered a “childcare desert,” which is defined as “any census tract with more than 50
children under age five that contains either no childcare providers or so few options that there are
more than three times as many children as licensed childcare slots.” This is a monumental problem
for parents, employers, the local economy, and for our ability to thrive as a community.

There are multiple entities working to find solutions the childcare problem and this year several
individuals approached JCF to ask if we would take on the role of helping to “bring it all together” so
the myriad groups could work in concert — coordinating efforts, sharing ideas, identifying resources,
and working together.

As a result, the Jefferson County Childcare Network was formed and convenes a monthly meeting to
bring together stakeholders with the goal of creating a coordinated landscape of childcare.
Thank you to these Childcare Network participants who are working tirelessly on finding ways to
increase the availability of childcare for local working families:

  • The Population Health Department of Jefferson Healthcare, securing funding and developing
    strategies for community-wide solutions;
  • Port Townsend School District Superintendent, committed to providing a new childcare space
    on school property;
  • OlyCAP, running Headstart and developing a childcare space in their new building, 7th Haven
  • Olympic Peninsula YMCA, committed to providing childcare at both the future Port Townsend
    High School site and the OlyCAP site.
  • Jefferson County, coordinating government funding.
  • City of Port Townsend City, ensuring City support for emerging solutions.
  • Dove House, advocates for local families.
  • Additional local private childcare providers and potential childcare providers, who face the
    challenges of obtaining and maintaining state licenses, finding appropriate and state approved
    facility space, and start-up costs, all of which can be prohibitively expensive.