Senate unanimously passes Padden measure to address childcare shortage

Bill would allow existing childcare workers to substitute experience and demonstrated competence for certification

Should daycare workers be required to have specific educational certification if they already have demonstrated knowledge and years of experience? Not necessarily, says Sen. Mike Padden, sponsor of a measure that would allow childcare workers to effectively substitute their experience for certain educational requirements to meet state qualifications.

Today the Senate voted 45 to 0 to pass Senate Bill 6297.

“I’m pleased to see my colleagues support this common-sense bill,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “There is a serious childcare shortage in our state, and too many of our current workers are leaving the field altogether. This shortage impacts children, families and even the flow of business.”

In August, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) adopted rules requiring new staffing qualifications for licensed childcare providers. Padden argues that these requirements may not only be forcing some daycare workers out of the field, but also preventing others from entering.

Under SB 6297, an existing early learning provider is eligible for an experience-based competency demonstration if the provider:

  • has been employed by a licensed childcare or home, or both; and
  • completed all training that was required, including in-service requirements and health and safety training.

An amendment adopted to the bill specifies that the experience-based demonstrated competence is an individual determination and is portable between facilities.

“This bill would help us address our serious work force deficit, by recognizing that some of these really good people who have been working in daycare for years have a wealth of experience and knowledge that is an asset,” Padden added.

“We shouldn’t be turning this tremendous resource away.”

The bill, which received the support of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.