Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, introduced a bill last week to address a nationwide childcare shortage, specifically targeting rural areas. The bipartisan bill, introduced with California Democrat Josh Harder, would create a $100 million grant program to build and expand child care centers and train professionals.
Lewis County has been described as a “childcare desert,” with few affordable options for parents — an issue exacerbated by school closures during the pandemic.
“Working parents and guardians need solutions like the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act that will increase the availability and affordability of child- care in Southwest Washington, no matter where families live. I’m pleased to help address the childcare crisis from Congress as we emerge from this crisis and endeavor to get our economy back up and running,” Herrera Beutler said in a press release.
The bill has support from the Save the Children Action Network, which said in the press release that the childcare industry is crucial to allow adults to rejoin the workforce.