Community

Kids World

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Bellingham City Council voted unanimously to help save Whatcom County’s licensed childcare.

If you want to prevent unnecessary incarceration of adults, invest in quality childcare. The facts are indisputable: healthy, resilient children that have at least one responsible adult in their lives are far more likely to succeed in school and in life than kids that don’t. And locally, we face a big problem when it comes to making sure every child has a fighting chance.

Whatcom County is a childcare desert. Six out of 10 families can’t find the reliable, safe and quality childcare they seek. The disparity overwhelmingly falls to families who struggle financially and are without adequate resources. Many families are single-parent head of household. Others have both parents working at least one job. But in all cases, childcare—when you can find it—costs too much. No one should have to spend a majority of their paycheck to cover childcare, but it happens every day. What’s left over goes to rent and bills and not much else. But it’s not just about money; it’s the system that’s the problem.

Qualified childcare providers—those that have staff members trained to care for different ages and abilities—are reimbursed at the thinnest of margins—about 55 percent of the cost is covered by state dollars from Olympia. And the people who have one of the most important jobs in our community—caring for our kids during their most formative developmental years—are compensated at a far lesser rate than they should be, hovering near minimum wage. Overall, it creates a business model that few seek and even fewer can operate with confidence. Combine that with an increase in minimum wage and a low unemployment rate and we continue to find ourselves in the dearth of providers. And not just for families with low incomes, but for everyone.

It is within this perfect storm of influencing factors that City Council was asked in December 2019 to put up $100,000 to support a local nonprofit in their quest to take over operations for Kids World, a local business that operates four facilities—three in Bellingham and one in Ferndale. Kids World accounts for 16 percent of all available childcare slots in Whatcom County—532 kids receive services from this company. Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County is seeking partners like the city to help them raise $300,000 to partially fill the forecasted financial gap and Whatcom County is considering adding an additional $100,000 to help defray the costs of providing care for kids whose families rely on Kids World.

Communities cannot rely on patches and bandaids to care for our kids. All 39 counties in Washington State need relief when it comes to childcare. And to be clear, this isn’t just babysitting. Research shows that the first 1,000 days of a person’s life—roughly the first three years—shape learning, socialization, esteem, compassion and other character traits that influence who we become as adults.

Absent having a local, dedicated fund to support early childhood development—like a Children’s Levy—the Legislature should fully fund House Bill 1344. This bill would provide universal access to childcare by 2025 and set the cap that households will pay for childcare to seven percent of the family’s income. Considering that infant care costs more than in-state tuition at a community college, this could provide families a better head start and more opportunities at both childhood success and employment success for parents that can work without the looming stress of childcare costs.

Dan Hammill is the Ward 3 Representative on Bellingham City Council.

Past Columns
Climate Action Plan

September 1, 2021

Support Transportation Fund

October 21, 2020

Census Countdown

September 30, 2020

Don’t Fence Us Out

July 22, 2020

Back to the wild

May 6, 2020

Every Other Weekly?

April 1, 2020

Unified Command

March 18, 2020

Fierce Urgency of Now

January 15, 2020

The Three Rs

December 18, 2019

Saying Goodbye

December 11, 2019

Cold and Alone

December 4, 2019

Big Money Politics

November 13, 2019

A Win for the Birds

July 24, 2019

Road to ‘Nowhere’

June 26, 2019

Game Changes

April 24, 2019

Salish Sea Science

January 23, 2019

Cherry Point Amendments

January 16, 2019

Thursday
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11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Reka Zoltan’s wood cuts and etchings will be featured through Sept. 19.

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11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

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11:00am

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Listen in on Robert Sarazin Blake & Friends at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place from 5:30pm-7pm Thursday at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. From 8pm-11pm,…

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7:00pm

Felix the Hammer will perform from 7pm-8pm at Kulshan Trackside at Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave. From 8:15pm-9:45pm, the Whags will take the stage. The group continues to gain notoriety…

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7:30pm

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7:30pm

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Episcool, Heirz, & Winzlo wukk will join BUKI for a 9pm show Thurs., Sept. 16 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming highlights include the Red Not Chili Peppers…

Friday
Whatcom Water Week

9:30am

Celebrate our local water resources when Whatcom Water Week kicks off with a “Run With the Chums” event Saturday at the BP Highlands in Birch Bay. Events continue through Sept. 19 and include…

Fall Classes at BAAY

12:00pm

Starting Sept. 12, Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth will begin offering a variety of classes and shows for students ages 4-17. All classes are currently scheduled to take place in person at…

Paintings of My Life at Gallery Syre

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 23 at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a selection of more than 60 works…

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10:00am

Join Sustainable Connections for Eat Local Month through September as they support and share the work of local farmers, fishers, ranchers, chefs, restaurateurs and grocers in Whatcom, Skagit,…

U-pick at Bellewood Farms

10:00am

Choose from 22 varieties of apples located on 62 acres at U-pick events taking place from 10am-5pm Wednesdays through Sundays at Bellewood Farms, 6140 Guide Meridian. Free apple bin train…

Bellinghistory Tours with the Good Time Girls

6:00pm

Through Sept. 23, the Good Time Girls will lead free “Bellinghistory” tours at 6pm Wednesday in Fairhaven, and 6pm Thursday in downtown Bellingham. The Wednesday tour will highlight the…

Red Elvises and Beyond at Shakedown

8:30pm

Red Elvises will perform at 8:30pm Wed., Sept. 15 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The show will be followed by a number of other gigs this month—including Fossil Fire, Island Gigantism,…

Future Artifacts at MoNA

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Oct. 10 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Art Aloft Member Art Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Art Aloft” Member Art Show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 15 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St. NW.

Bowls to Fill at Good Earth

11:00am

“Bowls to Fill,” featuring members of Whatcom Artist of Clay & Kiln (WACK), will be featured from 11am-5pm daily through Saturdays, and 11am-4pm Sundays through September at Good Earth…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm daily at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Reka Zoltan’s wood cuts and etchings will be featured through Sept. 19.

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Fall Exhibits at Jansen Art Center

11:00am

View a “Fall Juried Show” in Lynden from 11am-7pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11am-5pm Fridays and Saturdays at the Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Also on display are “From Then ‘Til…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Yoshiko’s Folly: Shirbori Hats by Fine…

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11:00am

Catch longtime glass artist Steve Klein’s new exhibit “Discovery” from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through September 26 in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First…

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Gallery Showcase

11:00am

View a Whatcom Artist Studio Tour Gallery Showcase from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 25 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. Presenting a wide range of media, the exhibit…

Anne Martin McCool at Scott Milo

11:00am

Acrylics by Anne Martin McCool will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 28 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave. Mixed-media works by…

An Artist's Universe at Hotel Bellwether

12:00pm

View painter and mixed-media master David Syre’s latest installation, “An Artist’s Universe,” hanging throughout the corridors, lobby and dining room of Hotel Bellwether and the Lighthouse…

Sunnylandfest

12:00pm

Attend the second annual celebration of Fest beers, “Sunnylandfest,” from Thursday through Sunday in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, Wander Brewing,…

Semiahmoo Sips

3:00pm

From 3pm-5pm, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a rotating menu while…

Whatcom Teen Writers

3:00pm

Students in grades 6-12 can join Whatcom County Library System for “Whatcom Teen Writers” discussions taking place from 3pm-4pm on Zoom. Hone your craft, practice creative exercises, share…

What We're Reading Book Club

4:00pm

From 4pm-5pm, Deming Library staff member Erin Suda will host a virtual What We’re Reading Book Club meeting on Zoom. The club is for folks who love to share books they’ve enjoyed and hear…

Tween Reads

4:00pm

Youth in grades 4-6 can sign up for weekly “Tween Reads” discussions with Whatcom County Library System taking place from 4pm-5pm on Zoom. Whether you like graphic novels, fantasy, realistic…

Virtual Handbags for Housing

4:30pm

At 6:30pm, Lydia Place will host its annual auction and fundraiser, “Handbags for Housing.” General admission to the virtual event is free. VIP tickets are $125 and include early online…

Boundary Bay Music

5:30pm

Listen in on Robert Sarazin Blake & Friends at a Happy Hour Concert Series taking place from 5:30pm-7pm Thursday at the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave. From 8pm-11pm,…

Trackside Tunes

7:00pm

Felix the Hammer will perform from 7pm-8pm at Kulshan Trackside at Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave. From 8:15pm-9:45pm, the Whags will take the stage. The group continues to gain notoriety…

The Wingmaker

7:30pm

Another world premier by iDiOM Theater’s Playwright in Residence, Rosalind Reynolds, takes place this weekend when The Wingmaker shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Sylvia…

Upfront Back in Front

7:30pm

Catch the Upfront Theatre’s long-running show “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” at 7:30pm Thursday at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. At 7:30pm and 9:30pm Friday and…

Proof

7:30pm

David Auburn’s Proof opens this week with showings at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday in Lynden at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre, 655 Front St. The drama tells the story of a…

The Smell of the Kill

7:30pm

Michele Lowe’s The Smell of the Kill will continue this weekend with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The dark…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

9:00pm

Episcool, Heirz, & Winzlo wukk will join BUKI for a 9pm show Thurs., Sept. 16 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming highlights include the Red Not Chili Peppers…