Many thanks to the UUCS members who helped fill our sanctuary on April 28 for a Spokane Alliance “action” to address our county’s child care crisis. Rev. Todd Eklof greeted the crowd, praising the organizational work and political muscle of the Spokane Alliance.
In all, 255 people attended in person or on Zoom with a clear message: we must prioritize affordable child care, increase pay for child care workers, and provide more mental health services for children and for those who care for them.
The Spokane Alliance received commitments from three Spokane City Council members and two City of Spokane Valley elected officials to secure $4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for local child care and mental health.
As is usual in Spokane Alliance actions, people told moving stories of their struggles to find affordable child care and cope with mental health problems. The invited officials listened — and agreed to act.
There’s more work to do. Three empty chairs at the event were reserved for the Spokane County Commissioners, who did not attend despite repeated invitations and requests to provide $6 million. Of the $101 million in federal pandemic relief funds still to be allocated in Spokane County, county officials have designated zero dollars for child care.
The Spokane Alliance will continue to work to ensure that the requested funds are allocated in city budgets and to further engage with Spokane County for additional ARPA funds.