Governor signs Rep. Liz Pike bill ending separate grouping of five- and six-year-olds in day care centers

A costly agency rule that requires day care centers to separate five- and six-year olds who attend school from those of the same age not yet enrolled in school will soon be going away. Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation on Friday authored by Rep. Liz Pike that ends the state Department of Early Learning (DEL) rule and allows five- and six-year-olds to be in the same group with each other, regardless of whether they are enrolled in school.

“This is just another overreach of a state agency imposing costly bureaucracy where it doesn’t belong. The agency rule essentially required child care centers to hire extra staff in order to serve five- and six-year-olds enrolled in school in a separate group from the other children,” said Pike, R-Camas. “There’s no demonstrated benefit of separating these youngsters from the rest of the children. The only result was that it raised the cost of day care, making it harder for young, working families to afford child care expenses.”

Under House Bill 2511, DEL is no longer allowed to use school enrollment status as a reason to require children ages 60 months through six years to be separated from other children.

“This issue was brought to my attention by a licensed day care center that has been serving Battle Ground families for more than three decades. I’m very glad they brought it to my attention so that we can help to keep quality child care more affordable for working families,” added Pike.

The measure takes effect in June.

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