Anacortes needs more child care

The Anacortes Rotary Club welcomes the news that the Samish Indian Nation has purchased the D Avenue Nursery property so that it can grow its youth program and, importantly, expand into infant care.

We’re thrilled the tribe has stepped up to help address the chronic child care problem in Anacortes, and we are proud we’ve been able to help them with the property purchase through a $25,000 contribution as part of our Centennial Giving Program.

The child care programs will serve all Anacortes children.

Too many Anacortes children and families have struggled over the years due to the severe shortage of licensed, full-day child care in our community. The shortage here, far worse than the state average, leads to care situations and compromises that slow down children’s development and erode the well-being of families.

The problems ripple into the community at large, with the lack of care options for potential employees’ children creating another hurdle for businesses struggling to attract and retain workers. Parents forced to stay home with young children, rather than work, strain public assistance and social services programs.

The Anacortes Family Center has identified lack of child care as the No. 1 barrier for families to obtain and keep employment so as to discontinue or reduce reliance on public assistance.

The problems, and too many families’ desperate stories, have been well-known to members of the Synergy Group, a group of concerned Anacortes citizens, community leaders, child care experts and representatives from service groups — including Anacortes Rotary. Together we have been working for years to improve the lives of our families with young children (0-5 years) by increasing access to licensed child care.

Many service clubs have made child care a priority and contributed to the property purchase. It shows what can happen when we work together.

The Samish are leading the way. We congratulate them and look forward to their new building becoming a reality, one that will have a huge impact on our entire community.

Stephanie Hamilton

President, Anacortes Rotary Club

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