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Our Family Connections Program supports parents from day one through college graduation day. By making childcare more affordable and consistent for low-income families, the program allows parents to enroll in college full-time, focus on their studies, graduate in a timely manner, and embark on a career that pays a living wage. At the same time, their children receive a quality, early-learning experience giving them a great start on their own educational journey.

A crisis in our region: lack of affordable childcare

  • Washington state is one of the least affordable states for childcare. And, in Seattle, the cost of infant childcare hovers around $2,000 a month. [1]
  • The annual income of a full-time, $16/hour worker is $33,280 a year in Seattle…for a low-wage, working parent the numbers just don’t add up. [2]

Workforce development for a booming city

  • Seattle is the fastest-growing major city in the nation. [3] A single parent with an infant and preschooler in King County must earn $82,454 just to provide basic needs for their family. That’s more than $39/hour!
  • Student parents in our Family Connections Program expect to increase their earnings by more than 300% after graduation.[4]
  • Approximately 60% of student parents in our program are working toward a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field. [4]

A two-generational approach to lifting families out of poverty

  • Higher education provides an opportunity to leave poverty behind. Single mothers with a bachelor’s degree earn 62% more ($18,500 more annually) than single mothers with a high school diploma. [5]
  • And, over time, people with a college degree have increased earnings, have higher rates of employment, and improved outcomes for their children. [6,7,8,9]
  • In addition, children who attend high-quality, pre-kindergarten programs can improve their school readiness. In Washington state, 70% of children who hover around the poverty line are not enrolled in a pre-kindergarten program. [10]


[1] Associated Press Sept 2018:  “‘Broken’ economics for Seattle’s preschool workers, childcare sector”
[2] Minimum Wage Ordinance:
[3] U.S Census Bureau
[4] 2018 Survey of current Family Connection Program parents.
[5] IWPR analysis of 2015 American Community Survey microdata (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series)
[6] Anthony Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Ban Cheah. 2011. The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce.
[7] Michael Hout. 2012. “Social and Economic Returns to College Education in the United States.” Annual Review of Sociology 38 (1): 379–400.
[8] Dennis Vilorio. 2016. “Education Matters.” Career Outlook.
[9] Paul Attewell, and David Lavin. 2007. Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations? New York, NY: Russell Sage Publishers
[10] KIDS COUNT Child Well-Being Index. Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-09, 2010-14, 2011-15, and 2012-16 five-year American Community Survey.