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, and/or other unique needs.
Who is eligible to apply?
The Child Care Complex Needs Fund is awarded through a competitive-grant process. Submitting an application does not guarantee that an eligible provider will receive an award. Eligible applicants may only receive Complex Needs Funds once each state fiscal year.
Eligible providers include:
- Open licensed, certified, or certified-for-payment-only child care providers.*
- License-exempt Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers who have served at least one child on subsidy in four of the past six months, or two of the past three months and claim for subsidy through the Social Service Payment System (SSPS) at time of application.
*Licensed providers who are serving ECEAP slots are not eligible for the Child Care Complex Needs Fund. Instead, they should access Complex Needs Funds through their ECEAP contractor.
To be eligible, providers must have children currently 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:
If you are an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractor, email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
How much can a provider apply for?
|Provider Type||Minimum Amount||Maximum Amount|
|Open licensed, certified, or certified-for-payment-only child care providers||$5,000||$100,000|
|Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers||$100||$2,000|
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:|
How does a provider apply?
All providers are required to have a WA Compass Provider Portal account before they can complete the Child Care Complex Needs Fund application.
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.
Complex Needs Fund Application Preview and Question Guide
Preview the application questions:
DCYF Child Care Complex Needs Fund Manual
Get more information about accessing the application:
DCYF Complex Needs Fund Application Step-by-Step Guide
Get more information about the application steps:
Where to Find Assistance
Technical and Language Assistance
DCYF strongly encourages all providers to utilize our technical assistance partners when applying for grants. Technical assistance can offer support in your language, guidance on preparing for, and accessing, the application, and help answering questions on spending and saving receipts. Please contact the Imagine Institute.
If you have questions about a grant application, the timeline of a grant, or other questions specific to these grants, email email@example.com.
ECEAP Complex Needs Fund
ECEAP and/or Birth-3 ECEAP contractors may apply for additional funds to support children with developmental delays, differing abilities, or challenging behaviors due to complex trauma. The ECEAP Complex Needs Fund (CNF) supports children currently enrolled in care at an ECEAP site (licensed slot or ECEAP slot).
Who is eligible?
- Applicants must be current B-3 ECEAP and/or ECEAP contractors.
- Individual sites serving ECEAP slots may only apply through their ECEAP contractor.
- Application must clearly show funds will support children with developmental delays, disabilities, or challenging behaviors due to complex trauma.
- The CNF is for children with complex needs who are currently enrolled in ECEAP or Birth-3 ECEAP, or who are enrolled in a site that is blended with ECEAP and licensed child care.
- ECEAP Complex Needs Fund Application Guidance Document **(Coming Soon)**.
If you are an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) contractor or Birth-3 ECEAP contractor, email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the ECEAP Complex Needs Fund.
If you are a licensed provider who serves ECEAP slots, please contact your ECEAP contractor about the ECEAP Complex Needs Fund.