The Growth Gap is a Yakima Herald-Republic reporting series and newsletter that ran January-June 2021 on how Washington state’s declining child care sector is edging out young learners. Our coverage zeroes in on how this issue impacts children, families, providers and our economy in Central Washington – with an emphasis on long-term outcomes for early learners.


Yakima Herald-Republic education reporter Janelle Retka sits down with Lorena Miranda, a union representative in Yakima who runs an in-home child care program, to discuss the joys and struggles of becoming a provider and union representative on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021, in Yakima, Wash.


Here is a non-exhaustive list of programs or resources available to support Central Washington families.

Faces of Child Care

Meet Rebecca Rogers, a 27-year-old from Yakima. She’s a single mom of two young boys, ages 4 and 8 months. Her family of three qualifies for the Working Connections Child Care program, a state system that helps low-income families pay for child care so they can continue working or pursuing work.  Read more



Meet Janelle

Meet Janelle

I’m Janelle Retka, a 28-year-old illustrator and education journalist reporting for the Yakima Herald-Republic here in Central Washington and creator of The Growth Gap. I’m a proud auntie of three (soon to be four – looking forward to meeting you, Baby Lou!) and a dog mom to Marv, a now-4-year-old street dog I adopted while living and reporting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for a handful of years.

Thank You

The Education Writers Association funded this project. Yakima Herald-Republic team members Greg Halling, Joanna Markell, Margaux Maxwell, Vera Sanabria, Amanda Ray, Evan Abell and Aidian Holder contributed to this project. Mia Rose Sato provided engagement consulting. Laura Mishkin served as the design editor.

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