The True Cost of High-Quality Child Care Across the United States

The high price of child care has long been a burden for most families, rivaling the cost of college in many states and forcing households to make difficult decisions and trade-offs. However, this high price often fails to account for the actual costs that child care providers incur and the cost to provide high-quality, developmentally appropriate, safe, and reliable child care staffed by a professionally compensated workforce. Learn more HERE

Population Health Trust June Newsletter

Population Health Trust June NewsletterJune 30, 2021Summer sure hit early and with a vengeance! Hope you have all managed to stay healthy through this heat wave. The pandemic has been a challenging time for all Skagitonians, and no less so for families with children. When childcare providers, preschools, and schools needed to scale back or close their doors to in-person learning, parents with children of all ages had to take on additional care and schooling responsibilities, many times in addition to working full-time jobs. A significant number of parents also lost income due to job loss or leaving the workforce to attend to their children’s needs. The strain and burden on parents has been intense! Fortunately, the Trust’s First 1,000 Days workgroup, which focuses on improving health and wellness for families with babies and children from birth to 3 years old, has been working overtime! Instead of pausing during the pandemic, the Trust intensified its efforts to support families during such a time of crisis. Thanks to the tireless work by our partners at United General District 304, the Children’s Council, the Children’s Museum of Skagit County, Skagit Island Head Start, Skagit County Public Health, DSHS, Skagit Pediatrics, and United Way, the Trust was able to launch a host of new supports for Skagit families. 

Here are some of the things Trust partners have been working on:The *NEW* Help Me Grow Family Resource Center took up operations out of the Children’s Museum, providing assistance to over 200 families since opening in October of 2020.Ongoing recruitment for a Family Resource Navigator to staff the Help Me Grow Skagit call center. This position will provide families with a knowledgeable, bilingual person to help connect them to the resources they need.Dr. Francie Chalmers has joined the Help Me Grow team to loop physicians and other health care providers into the resources that their families need. This will ensure that referrals are provided both to—and from—the Help Me Grow Resource Center.Skagit Pediatrics is working on becoming a HealthySteps site. HealthySteps is an evidence-based model that enhances pediatric primary care for infants and toddlers by adding a Child Development Expert to the practice to ensure universal screenings are taking place. The Expert also provides interventions, referrals, and follow-up services to the whole family.Lastly, in signs that life is returning to something that resembles normal, the Welcome Baby program has been able to resume in-person visits at the Skagit Valley Hospital Family Birth Center this month! The Trust will continue to keep the needs of families at the forefront of its health improvement efforts. We expect our COVID Recovery Plan to focus attention on the needs of our families, including essential access to food, housing, behavioral health services and employment opportunities. Many great things are on the horizon for Skagit County families! To the many bright days ahead!
Thank you for your partnership in keeping Skagit County healthy! PHT Logo 
Population Health TrustPhone: (360) 416-1524

Working Connections Child Care Enrollment Information

Working Connections Child Care continues to accept applicants.  Currently there is no co-pay.  To determine if you are eligible, check out the data below:  

Family SizeIncome limit

If your income is equal to or less than the limits above (in consideration of your family’s size), your kids can get free child care.  

To determine your income it may be easiest to look at your IRS 1040 form, line 15 “taxable income”.

How to apply:  go to this Department of Children, Youth, and Families website

The Legislature has also capped enrollment in Working Connections Child Care at 33,000.  Right now enrollment is short of this cap by thousands of children.  So now is a good time to enroll kids in Working Connections Child Care.


Increased eligibility and affordable co-pays for Working Connections Child Care kick in on October 1st. To determine if you are eligible, we put together this spreadsheet:


  • A single mom with two kids, with an income of $31,000 or less, can get Working Connections Child Care for her children 12 years old and younger, for $65 a month. (This co-pay covers all her children in child care.)  
  • A family of four with income less than $61,500 can get Working Connections Child Care for their children for $115 a month.
  • A one adult/one child family with income less than $14,000 can get Working Connections Child Care with no co-pay.

The Legislature made great strides for affordability of child care. Now we have to enroll our kids!

United Way of Skagit 2021-2022 Community Impact Grant Application OPEN!

United Way of Skagit County is pleased to announce the June 28, 2021 opening of our grant application process.  Grants are available to agencies with programs that serve Skagit children from birth to age five AND/OR the children’s parents and caregivers.  Eligible agencies must meet the requirements listed at the beginning of the application. 

Applications are available using an online grant platform at   

Completed applications must be submitted by Noon on July 21, 2021.  If you have any questions, please contact Jen Lindbeck at

United Way of Skagit County is committed to removing barriers and increasing accessibility and equity in programming for our most vulnerable and underserved populations. In an effort to align with our bold goal, our grant application includes information related to client, board, and staff demographics including:

  • Staff and board representation of the population served;
  • Low income families;
  • Families who live in school districts with lower kindergarten readiness according to WAKids data scores including Burlington Edison, LaConner, Mount Vernon, or Sedro Woolley School Districts; and, 
  • Programs that focus on math and literacy skills.

You will have an opportunity to share the progress your organization is making in terms of equity and accessibility so that United Way might learn and gather information for future funding cycles.

Help Me Grow WA Newsletter

Help us better serve Washington families! Help Me Grow WA has an exciting opportunity to hear from families and communities across our state via a new survey – please share your thoughts and pass the survey along to your networks. Our newsletter also includes national and regional Help Me Grow news and other resources. Thanks for reading!
**Lea este boletín en español**Help Me Grow Washington News Take and Share the Help Me Grow WA Survey
We would love to hear from you! An anonymous survey, developed by The Vida Agency and WithinReach, will collect community insight to help us improve messaging and outreach so that we can better serve Washington children and families. The first 150 parents and caregivers to complete it will receive a $20 cash gift card. Take the 10-minute survey before June 30 at this link.Watch Help Me Grow WA 101
Our new Help Me Grow WA 101 video is an introduction into who we are and how we organize our work. This is a great resource for those looking to learn more about and get involved with Help Me Grow WA, and we encourage you share it with the families and communities you serve. To watch the video, please visit our Help Me Grow WA website.Core Team Update
With the statewide work strengthening and expanding, the Core Team – Washington Communities for Children (WCFC), Department of Children, Youth & Families and WithinReach – has heard from partners across the state that the HMG system needs to evolve the leadership structure. We are currently in deep discussions to define our individual, organizational and collective roles to identify what strengths and gaps exist. From there, we will work with the sub-affiliate leads, State Action Team Specialists and WCFC Regional Leads to look at what structural reforms are needed. We hope to have clarity by the end of summer. We are committed to equity, shared leadership and transparency through this process and look forward to sharing updates with you. Read moreHelp Me Grow National NewsThe State of Early Childhood System-Building
Help Me Grow affiliates implement the only evidence-based, nationally recognized early childhood system model, but rarely do they encounter funding opportunities dedicated to advancing state-level integrated maternal and early childhood systems-building. In Help Me Grow National’s new blog, read about the five key themes emerging throughout the community of practice that provide valuable lessons for those seeking to successfully implement the HMG Model.Help Me Grow Virtual Forum 2021
Registration will open soon for the Help Me Grow Virtual Forumfrom Sept. 20-23. Keep an eye out for an upcoming registration announcement.Help Me Grow Regional NewsIn Pierce County… 
HMG Pierce County has a new community calendar of events and groups for Pierce County families on their website. Take a look for local happenings in the area. They would also like to invite people to their virtual Annual Stakeholder Meeting on Thursday, June 24th from 8:30-10 a.m. to learn about what HMG Pierce County has been up to this year. Visit their events page for more info.Resources for Parents & Caregivers
PBS Summer of Possibilities: PBS put together a list of games and activities to promote healthy development over the summer. Take a look for ideas that your family can incorporate into your summer plans.LGBTQ+ Pride Month: June is Pride month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City and the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. It’s a time to celebrate the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are two articles that offer advice on talking to children about “Why is June Pride Month?” and “6 Tips for talking about LGBTQ+ rights with kids.
Creative Ways Parents Can Increase Their Child’s Language Skills at Home: The pandemic has parents and caregivers concerned about language skills. Here are some ideas to get creative and increase a child’s language skills at home.What We Are Reading & Learning
RAPID Project at the University of Oregon: Data is gathered from families on a bi-weekly basis, informing on the needs, health-promoting behaviors and well-being of children and families during COVID-19. Their website houses their collection of posts and reports.
We All Count: Tools, case studies, practices and systems to improve equity in data science. They pursue independent research, study on-the-ground data work, partner with experts and consult with communities to improve and update our understanding of what ‘equity’ means in data science. WithinReach is working in shared leadership with the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Washington Communities for Children to guide the design and development of a vision and spread and scale plan for a unified Help Me Grow Washington. This newsletter will promote Help Me Grow efforts and share relevant state and local communications, resources and updates across the network.Send along ideas and resources for the Help Me Grow Washington website and future newsletters by emailing Taryn Essinger at CONNECTED WITH US ‌  ‌  ‌  ‌  ‌ You are on this list as someone we think would be interested in partner updates about Help Me Grow Washington. Feel free to unsubscribe any time at the link below. Thank you! 

Washington Update: President’s Budget Calls for Extending WIC Benefit Increase

On Friday, the White House released the President’s Budget for the fiscal year 2022. The President’s Budget is an annual proposal that starts the appropriations process in Congress. That process then determines funding levels for federal programs and services. This year, the President’s Budget called for a 16% increase in funding for domestic programs, including a total of $27.9 billion for USDA programs.The President’s Budget builds on investments in the American Rescue Plan Act, seeking to extend the four months of enhanced WIC benefits for fruits and vegetables for an entire year through September 2022. Although overall funding levels will remain consistent with the fiscal year 2021 at $6 billion, the White House calls for an end to recalling funding that could not previously be spent down due to the limited value of the food package. The proposed extension of elevated WIC benefits results in a $1.2 billion increase in WIC funding, ensuring that women and children on the program continue to have $35 per month for fruits and vegetables – more than triple the initial value!The President’s Budget also details USDA plans to advance a regulatory review that will bring the food packages further into alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). NWA has championed the food package review as an opportunity to double the value and sustain investments from the American Rescue Plan Act, bringing participating women, infants, and children closer to these nutrition recommendations. Both NWA’s vision and the American Rescue Plan Act’s increase of WIC’s fruit and vegetable voucher reflect the thorough scientific basis for the food package presented in the 2017 review by an independent panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).In addition to these crucial nutrition investments, the President’s Budget calls for two additional WIC investments – $100 million to replenish ongoing funding for WIC Management Information Systems and $200 million to support the contingency fund. This will ensure that USDA can support state needs should program costs or participation exceed budget estimates. The Budget would also earmark additional funding for WIC research and program innovation, building USDA capacity to support work, streamlining access to WIC, and creating a more participant-centered service-delivery model.The Budget also included a $3 million increase in the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a 14% increase from 2021. With additional funding, states could expand the WIC FMNP and new states could establish programs. After a similar increase in the fiscal year 2021, states could create new programs for the first time since the FMNP’s start in 1992.If you have any questions about the President’s Budget, please reach out to Senior Public Policy Counsel Brian Dittmeier at or State Public Policy Associate Noora Kanfash at response, Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of NWA, issued the following statement:This budget demonstrates that the Biden Administration is solidly committed to building a healthier nation and rooting out nutrition insecurity, especially for children. By investing an additional $1.2 billion in WIC’s proven public health efforts, the Biden White House is smartly tackling the high health care costs associated with chronic diet-related conditions while also promoting new and stronger markets for producers.Plainly said, increased access to fruits and vegetables leads to healthier kids. We look forward to working with Congress and USDA to extend this popular increase in WIC benefits and ensure that WIC program participants continue to access the nutritious foods necessary for healthy growth and development.
Take Action! Tell Congress You Support Extending the WIC Benefit IncreasesThe President’s Budget makes bold proposals to extend the increased Cash Value Benefit (CVB) for WIC families through September 2022 – an entire year of additional fruits and vegetables! But it won’t happen unless Congress approves the new funding.Reach out to your Congress members and tell them why you support higher WIC funding, like the extended CVB increase and ongoing MIS funding. Let your representative know where you stand!

New Publications: Spanish-Language Tips for Coping with Disaster

New Publications: June 2, 2021
Tips for Survivors of a Pandemic: Managing Stress (Spanish Version) – Consejos para sobrevivientes de una pandemia: Control del estrés
This tip sheet describes some of the common reactions to pandemics and other disasters and suggests ways to deal with them. It also covers financial stress, signs to seek professional mental health help, and lists sources of help and support.Esta hoja de consejos describe algunas de las reacciones frecuentes a las pandemias y otras catástrofes y sugiere formas de afrontarlas. También cubre el estrés financiero, los indicios de que debe buscar ayuda profesional en salud mental y enumera fuentes de ayuda y apoyo.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Dealing with Re-traumatization (Spanish Version) – Consejos para sobrevivientes de un desastre u otro acontecimiento traumático: Cómo enfrentar la re-traumatización
Re-traumatization is when stress reactions experienced as a result of a previous traumatic event are relived when faced with a new similar incident. However, as time passes, many people do not realize that the stress they are feeling is related to the previous traumatic experience.La re-traumatización es cuando se reviven las reacciones de estrés experimentadas como resultado de un acontecimiento traumático anterior al enfrentarse a un nuevo incidente similar. Sin embargo, al transcurrir el tiempo, muchas personas no se dan cuenta de que el estrés que están sintiendo está relacionado con la experiencia traumática anterior.
Tips for Healthcare Professionals: Coping with Stress and Compassion Fatigue (Spanish version) – Consejos para profesionales de la salud: Cómo enfrentar el estrés y la fatiga por compasión
This tip sheet explores stress and compassion fatigue, as well as signs of distress after a disaster. It identifies ways to cope and enhance resilience, along with resources for more information and support.Esta hoja de consejos examina el estrés y la fatiga por compasión, así como los signos de angustia después de una catástrofe. Se identifican formas de abordar la situación y aumentar la resiliencia, junto con recursos para obtener más información y apoyo.