Committee unanimously approves Dent legislation to address new early learning rules and regulations

On Friday, the House Human Services and Early Learning Committee unanimously passed a measure that would help early learning providers meet new state rules and regulations.

House Bill 2556, introduced by Rep. Tom Dent, would require the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) establish a pathway for licensed child care providers to meet professional education requirements associated with their license. The DCYF must consult with stakeholders in the development and implementation of the pathway. The pathway must be implemented by July 1, 2021.

“As the ranking member on the Human Services and Early Learning Committee, I had the opportunity to travel around the state and talk about child care issues,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “I heard from many early learning and child care providers that the new state rules and regulations were burdensome and unmanageable. I am also hearing from many parents. They are telling me we need affordable child care, and options are limited. Not only is it expensive, it has become difficult to find.”

Dent said the bill was amended before the committee voted to address concerns from all sides.

“This is an important issue impacting all areas of Washington state and there are a lot of different ideas on how to address the early learning provider crisis,” said Dent. “Interested parties were able to sit down and work out some changes to the bill that will hopefully have everyone on the same path moving forward.”

House Bill 2556 would:

  • direct DCYF to allow licensed child care providers until at least Aug. 1, 2026 to comply with licensing rules that require a provider to hold an Early Childhood Education Initial or Short Certificate, or complete community-based trainings that are either credit or noncredit bearing.
  • require the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to enter into an articulation agreement with the DCYF by July 1, 2021 to award college credit to providers completing the community-based trainings.
  • require, beginning Sept. 1, 2021, any credit-bearing community-based training pathway for child care providers offered by community and technical colleges to align with the DCYF community-based training pathway.

The bill now heads to the House floor where it has until Feb. 19 to be voted on by the full state House of Representatives.

The Legislature adjourns the 60-day session on March 12.


Washington State House Republican Communications