Early Learning

  • Equity in Kindergarten Readiness

    Although the statewide rate of kindergarten readiness has improved somewhat over the past six years (as measured by the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills assessment), this change has not benefitted all racial/ethnic groups equally. The readiness rates for American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander children remain substantially below the rates for children from other groups. Readiness rates for Black/African American children increased briefly, but have recently fallen. Asian and White children continue to have the highest rates of kindergarten readiness and those rates have increased faster than have the rates for other groups. Equity in kindergarten readiness is an outcome indicator for our strategic priority to eliminate racial disproportionality and advance racial equity.

    Kindergarten Readiness by Race/Ethnicity, 2015-2022 School Years
      kinder readiness
  • Foster Care Kindergarten Readiness

    Children who experience foster care are prepared for kindergarten at lower rates than children who do not experience foster care. Although the overall rate of kindergarten readiness has increased over the past few years, there has not been a substantial increase in kindergarten readiness for children who have experienced foster care.

    Kindergarten Readiness by Foster Care Status, 2015-2020 School Years
  • ECEAP Kindergarten Readiness

    Kindergarten readiness is an outcome indicator for the DCYF priority to create a high-quality, integrated B-8 system. During the 2019-2020 school year, 95% of children who participated in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) came from families that qualified for Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL). Across the years, children who participate in ECEAP are prepared for kindergarten at higher rates than their FRPL-qualifying peers.

    ECEAP Kindergarten Readiness by Domain, Relative to Income, School Years 2016-2019
  • ECEAP Funded Slot Growth

    The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) provides child-centered, individualized preschool education and health coordination services on a foundation of strengths-based family support. The Fair Start for Kids Act (FSKA) requires that by July 2026, ECEAP services be available for all eligible children. As a result, ECEAP is expanding throughout Washington State, and DCYF is monitoring its growth as part of our priority to create a high-quality, integrated B-8 system.

    Funded ECEAP Slots, by Type, School Years 2015-2022
  • Working Connections Child Care

    Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) helps eligible families pay for child care. When a family qualifies for child care subsidy benefits and chooses an eligible provider, the state pays a portion of the cost of child care. DCYF works to ensure that all WCCC applications are processed in a timely manner and is monitoring the rates at which they are approved.

    Number and Percent of Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) Applications Processed and Approved, SFYs 2013-2023
  • Early Achievers Rated Providers

    Early Achievers is an easy-to-understand quality rating system for participating early care providers. DCYF monitors Early Achievers ratings as a balancing indicator for our priority to create a high-quality, integrated B-8 system. At the end of the 2023 state fiscal year, nearly 700 Early Achievers-enrolled providers were rated 3+ or higher, serving an estimate of over 32,000 non-school-age children.

    Number and Percent of Early Achievers Enrolled Providers by Rating, SFY 2019-2023
  • Disproportionality in Subsidy Enrollment

    From 2016 to 2021, subsidized child care programs have enrolled between 27 - 42 percent of the income-eligible population of children under 5 years of age in Washington State. Black/African American children have been consistently over-represented, while other groups have, in most years, been slightly under-represented to varying degrees.

    Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality Ratios for Child Care Subsidy Uptake, School Years 2016-2021
  • Disproportionality in ECEAP Enrollment

    Each year, around 15,000 children are enrolled in Washington's Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP). DCYF tracks disproportionality in ECEAP enrollment using a Disproportionality Ratio. A disproportionality ratio of 1.0 would indicate that children of that race/ethnicity are enrolled in ECEAP at the same rate they exist in the underlying income-eligible population. For the past few years, Black/African American children have been slightly over-represented in ECEAP enrollment, while American Indian/Alaska Native children have been slightly under-represented.

    Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality Ratios for ECEAP Enrollment, School Years 2016-2022
  • Licensed Capacity

    Washington State has more than 5,700 licensed or certified child care facilities, with a total licensed capacity of over 190,000 children. Licensed programs include child care centers, family home child care, school-age care, and licensed outdoor programs.

    Licensed Capacity of Child Care Providers, by Type, End of State Fiscal Years 2018-2023
    Number of Licensed Child Care Providers, by Type, End of State Fiscal Years 2018-2023
  • Child Care Licensed Capacity

    DCYF is tracking the licensed capacity of Early Achievers enrolled providers as a driver for expanding preschool access and associated kindergarten readiness.

    Total Licensed Capacity for Non-School-Age Children, by Early Achievers Enrolled Provider Type, SFY 2017-2023