Education Goals

One of DCYF’s child outcome goals is that children should be ready for kindergarten. Each year about 80,000 children enter kindergarten in Washington’s public school system. Across all income groups, less than 50 percent of children in Washington are ready for kindergarten (as measured by the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills assessment). Children from higher income families are most likely to be ready for kindergarten, while children from middle income and lower income families are ready for kindergarten at lower rates. DCYF has a goal to reach 90% kindergarten readiness statewide.
Kindergarten readiness, by household income group (percent below federal poverty level), 2018
  Entries and exits

The second DCYF education outcome goal is that youth are engaged in school. Youth who feel more connected or committed to school are more likely to achieve positive academic outcomes and are less likely to experience mental health issues.

Engagement in school can be measured by the Healthy Youth Survey’s index of engagement in school, which captures information on decision-making opportunities at school, one-on-one opportunities with teachers, opportunities to work on special projects, extracurricular opportunities, and feeling a part of class activities or discussions. Healthy Youth Survey results show that 65% of 10th graders living with parents/guardians report a high level of engagement at school, compared to 49% of students who do not live with parents/guardians.

10th graders with high levels of school engagement
  Entries and exits

DCYF’s third outcome goal related to education is that high school students graduate on time. Among 84,048 high school students in the 2018 cohort, 67,994 (81%) graduate on time.

Among that 2018 cohort, about half (42,829) are indicated as low-income students. Non-low income students graduate at a rate of 90%. By comparison, 72% of low-income students graduate on time.

Of youth receiving Juvenile Rehabilitation services during the 2005-2006 school year who were enrolled in ninth grade, 9 percent graduated on time (2008-2009) and an additional 5 percent graduated within the following two years.

Four year graduation rate by income group (2017-18 school year)
  Entries and exits

Licensed Capacity

Washington state has more than 5,500 licensed or certified child care facilities, including licensed child care centers, licensed family home child care programs, and licensed school-age programs.

Licensed capacity of child care providers, by type, 2018
  Child Care Centers Family Home Providers School Age Only
Statewide, 2018 123,333 31,827 33,042
Licensed capacity of child care providers, by age group, 2017
  Infants Toddlers Preschoolers School Age
Statewide, 2017 16,273 29,653 78,591 72,416

Source: Compass, December 2019
Notes: Licensed capacity is maximum number of children that a licensee is authorized to have on the premises of the child care at any one time, not a measure of the number of children a provider intends to serve. The licensed capacity by age group reported here reflects the maximum potential number of children who can be onsite at any given time in each age category. For example, for a facility with a licensed capacity of five that accepts both preschoolers and school-age children, five are added in both the preschool and school-age categories. The facility has the option of taking a child in either age category. This means the total licensed capacity to serve children for each age group is less than what is listed here.


Early Achievers uses an easy-to-understand rating system to track quality improvement of participating early care providers. In October 2019, we estimate that over 70,000 non-school-age children were served in settings rated 3 or higher.

Estimated number of children served by each type of provider, by quality, 2018
Rating Child Care Center Family Home Providers Head Start/ECEAP Total for year
Not yet rated 23,145 6,893 1,367 31,405
2 2,389 711 203 3,303
3 42,540 7,899 267 50,706
4 11,472 209 7,445 19,126
5 60   280 340
Total 79,606 15,712 9,562 104,880