SPOKANE, Wash. — Child care is hard to come by in the Inland Northwest. This keeps parents out of the workforce and hinders early learning. The Department of Commerce just gave out over $43 million to expand child care solutions.
All across the state, 69 early learning facilities received funding. In Spokane, one local recipient is using the $1 million grant to create a new type of child care in the community called Raze.
“We are going to raise the narrative,” said Kerra Bower. She currently owns and directs Little Scholars Early Learning Center and will soon be starting Raze, which will be a nonprofit daycare.
When open, it will bring 172 new childcare spots to Spokane. Its quality care with a holistic approach to history she says is often overlooked.
“Not only are we providing quality care, but we’re also providing a look into American history that in our area just hasn’t been done quite yet,” she said.
Bower says the early learning center will have a Black-American focus while still being focused on serving all families.
“We want to make sure that everyone understands a holistic image of their country here in the United States, and that includes Black excellence and so we’re going to be talking about that,” Bower added.
The program will have slots for infants all the way through age 12 afterschool programs. It will include curriculum about historic figures who’ve shaped history but aren’t always recognized.
She says it will create a “brighter future for all of our students.”
The investment will also help parents get back to the workforce because a lack of accessible, affordable child care doesn’t only hurt families. It also hurts the economy. The lack translates to over 133,000 potential workers left out of the labor force if they can’t find care, according to 2021 research conducted by the Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force.
“At this time, there are very few slots available,” Bower said about finding child care options.
The waitlist for Raze opened on Sunday. You can learn more about getting connected to care by visiting Raze’s Facebook page HERE. You can also email the director for more information at [email protected]
Bower is looking to open RAZE’s primary locations in child care deserts such as the Chief Garry, Logan and Shadle neighborhoods.
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