Thank you for your article about the daycare crisis in Skagit County.

As a working mother, it is imperative that I have safe care for my child. Many parents like me do not work traditional schedules and need after-hours care for their children. The home daycares that provide after-hour care are in danger of closing because they cannot afford the cost of complying with the new mandates.

People without children are also affected by the childcare crisis. Employees call in sick because they cannot find childcare. Companies have high turnover rates due to employees' childcare issues. Our communities and our local economy depend on childcare to continue growing and to flourish.

Childcare providers are being asked to invest a significant amount of time and money for additional education for themselves and employees, above and beyond the courses they already take. These providers will not be compensated differently once they comply.

Essentially, the employees are being told that to keep their minimum-wage jobs, they need to obtain a college degree. There is no incentive for the employees to do so. They can easily get a minimum wage job elsewhere without a degree. There is also no incentive for employees who do obtain a degree to continue working in childcare because that degree can help them make more money elsewhere. Providers are already struggling to retain employees at a rate they can afford to pay.

Our children are at risk of losing their childcare providers, and our businesses are at risk of losing employees if something isn't done to regulate the mandates and ensure there is funding to assist the providers in complying. Parents are sitting on long waiting lists that will only grow longer if more facilities close their doors.

Melissa Perez

Mount Vernon

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