The Complex Needs Fund application is now closed.

Child Care Complex Needs Fund

The Fair Start for Kids Act, passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2021, directs DCYF to create a Child Care Complex Needs Fund for child care. 

The fund is intended to promote inclusive, least restrictive environments and support providers serving children with developmental delays, disabilities, behavioral needs, or other unique needs.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include open licensed or certified child care providers who have served children receiving state subsidy through the Social Service Payment System (SSPS) in at least one month between Sept.1, 2021, and Feb. 28, 2022, and have claimed payment by March 31, 2022.

Eligible applicants must currently have children enrolled in their care who have behavioral needs, developmental delays, disabilities, or other unique needs.

DCYF Child Care Complex Needs Fund Manual

Get more information about eligibility criteria and prioritization:

English | Spanish | Somali

If you are an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractor, email to learn more.

DCYF may expand eligibility for future application periods.

How much can a provider apply for?

Providers may request funds between $5,000 and $100,000. In the application, providers fill out a spending plan explaining how the funds will be used.

An eligible provider may receive Complex Needs Funds once each state fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).

Once the application period has ended, grants will be scored and prioritized using the Complex Needs Fund Scoring Guide.

Based on data from the first round of applications, DCYF may adjust award levels and prioritization for future application periods.

Grant funds may be used for: Grant funds may not be used for:
  • Staffing
  • Therapeutic services
  • Facility improvements to comply with ADA accessibility requirements or behavioral needs
  • Supportive and adaptive materials and equipment
  • Providing teacher training
  • Capital expenses, such as major construction or renovation projects
  • Support to sites other than the licensed or certified site to which the funds were granted

How does a provider apply?

Providers will log into the WA Compass Provider Portal, navigate to the Grant Information tab, select Current Grants, and select the DCYF Complex Needs Fund application. The provider will answer a series of questions and then submit the application.

The application submission window will open in late Spring and close in June 2022. DCYF will notify providers and update this page when the application submission window opens.

Complex Needs Fund Application Preview and Question Guide

Preview the application questions:

English | Spanish | Somali 

DCYF Child Care Complex Needs Fund Manual

Get more information about accessing the application:

English | Spanish | Somali

DCYF Complex Needs Fund Application Step-by-Step Guide

Get more information about the application steps:

English | Spanish | Somali 

Where to Find Assistance

Technical and Language Assistance

If you need technical assistance, including assistance in your language, guidance on preparing for and accessing the application, or have questions on spending and saving receipts, you can contact either the Imagine Institute or Voices of Tomorrow.

Application Questions

If you have questions about a grant application, the timeline of a grant, or other questions specific to these grants, email