Childcare and Early Learning

High-quality childcare provides a healthy foundation for social well-being, intellectual development, physical health, and economic success. But the poverty-level wages paid in the profession mean teachers aren’t rewarded for their important role, leaving childcare centers unable to recruit and retain qualified staff – and the high cost and limited availability often puts childcare out of reach for working and middle-class families. EOI is working with community allies and stakeholders to expand state investment into early childhood education centers to secure fair compensation and respect for child care workers and to lower the cost of child care for families in our state.


Dawn loved her job – but she couldn’t afford to keep it

Dawn Cofone was only 16 years old when she began working with children at Spokane-area childcare facilities. So in the early 90’s, she began attending classes and training sessions to learn more about how to foster the education and development of the children in her care.

She worked hard and went to school, often full-time. But between school tuition and her meager salary, Dawn and her husband were struggling to pay the bills. “At the time I was making roughly seven dollars an hour and barely surviving, with my husband also working full time with any overtime he could get his hands on,” she said. “And this is when my husband came to me and pointed out the obvious. I could make more money and have less stress doing anything else.”

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