Partners for Our Children

HB1213 creates the Fair Start for Kids Act to provide an affordable and accessible system of high quality child care and early childhood development programs for the overall well-being of children and families and to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. HB1213 first stabilizes the child care industry and then expands access to a comprehensive continuum of high quality early childhood development programs, including infant and school-age child care, preschool, parent and family supports, and perinatal to three services. The legislature recognizes this continuum as critical to meeting different families’ needs and offering every child in Washington access to a fair start.

The Fair Start for Kids is created in the state treasury. No revenue source is identified. Moneys in the account may be spent only after appropriation, for purposes that include, but are not limited to:

(a) Increase child care subsidy rates;

(b) Expand access to affordable health care for staff;

(c) Support and expand access and enhanced rates for WCCC, ECEAP, and early ECEAP.

Amends existing statute about the Early Learning Advisory Council to included new roles related to implementing the Fair Start Act including assist in policy development, promote racial equity and inclusion, and fiscal accountability. 

The bill reconstitutes ELAC and names the composition of the 43 members.


Beginning July 1, 2023, and subject to the availability of funds, inflationary rate adjustments will be made every two years to adjust for ECEAP, Early ECEAP, Dual Language and Infant Care Incentives. 

This bill changes family eligibility by July 1, 2025 for the Working Connections Child Care Program when the household’s annual income is at or below 85 percent of the state median income adjusted for family size, the household meets all other eligibility requirements, and the child receiving care is:

(a) Aged 13 years or younger; or

(b) Aged 19 years or younger and has a verified special need or is under court supervision

The department shall adopt a copayment model based on annual income and will calculate copayments based on annual income and state median income range.

Beginning July 1, 2023, the law waives the work requirements for the Working Connections program as a condition of receiving child care benefits if the applicant is enrolled as a full-time student.

Amends ECEAP and expanded ECEAP statute:

Other components of the bill include:

Finally, the bill distinguishes which aspects are subject to availability of funding.

Substitute Bill:

2nd Substitute: