The Equity Grant application is now closed.

DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant

The Fair Start for Kids Act, passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2021, directs DCYF to distribute funds to support inclusive and culturally and linguistically specific early learning and early childhood and parent support programs across the state. The funds are distributed through the Early Childhood Equity Grant.

Early Childhood Equity Grants are intended to serve as a step toward expanding access to early learning statewide and transforming Washington's early learning system to make it more inclusive and equitable.

Fast Facts for Round 1

  • Round 1 application opened on June 28, 2022. The application was originally set to close August 16, 2022, but the period was extended until September 16, 2022.
  • DCYF’s budget for Round 1 was $1.7 million.
  • DCYF received 2,370 applications requesting over $100 million.
  • DCYF provided the application and materials in 6 languages: Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, English, Russian, Somali, and Spanish.
  • DCYF checked applications for eligibility and completeness. DCYF removed applications for a variety of reasons, including: applications that requested funds for disallowed purposes, applications that were incomplete, and applications that requested funding outside the allowable range.
  • DCYF then prioritized applications according to prioritization factors developed in partnership with providers.
  • A community review panel reviewed the 65 highest priority projects. DCYF used the panel’s scores to select the applications to fund.
  • Round 1 total grant awards will fund 34 applications, totaling $1.7 million: 22 Licensed Family Homes, 5 Child Care Centers, 2 ECEAP-Only Sites, 3 Play and Learn Groups, and 2 Family, Friend, and Neighbor caregivers.
  • The Early Childhood Equity Grant will open for a second round of applications in late winter 2023.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility is open to:

  • licensed or certified child care providers with an open license in good standing
  • license-exempt Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers serving children receiving state subsidies
  • ECEAP and Early ECEAP sites
  • Play and Learn Groups that are recognized by Child Care Aware of Washington (CCA of WA) and currently receive funding and/or direct programming support from CCA of WA to actively provide direct and virtual education and materials to parents and FFN caregivers, as a result of a contractual agreement between CCA of WA and the State of Washington and passed on to the recognized Play and Learn Group.

Each facility applying must have at least one child enrolled or regularly receiving care at the time of the application.

Providers with multiple licensed locations will need to submit a separate application for each site that qualifies to apply for a grant.

How much funding is available?

DCYF will offer three rounds of applications for the Early Childhood Equity Grant (Summer 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023). Each round of applications will have $1.7 Million available, for a total of $5.1 Million.

How much can a provider apply for?

Award amounts will vary by provider type. DCYF expects to award programs funding in the following ranges:

Provider Type

Minimum Award

Maximum Award

Licensed/certified providers



Family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers



Play and Learn groups



ECEAP and Early ECEAP sites



In the application, providers fill out a spending plan explaining how much funding is requested, and how the funds will be used. 

An eligible provider may receive an Early Childhood Equity Grant once every two years.

Once the application period has ended, grants will be screened for eligibility and completeness using the criteria in the Application Preview Guide. Grants will then be prioritized according to factors that were decided in collaboration with providers, as outlined in the Prioritization 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:

  • Program Design: curricula, development of policies and procedures, other activities or materials as identified by providers
  • Program Delivery: hiring specialized staff for your program, classroom materials, experiences (cultural experiences, field trips), other activities or materials as identified by providers
  • Staff Education and Training: conference registrations; on- or off-site training; college courses related to inclusive/equitable, culturally/linguistically supportive practices; education supports (ex: books, computers or equipment, other training or learning materials); other activities or materials as identified by providers
  • Program Evaluation: assessment tools, consultation to complete evaluation, administering assessments focused on equity, other activities or materials as identified by providers
  • Activities or materials that do not advance or inspire practices that promote inclusive and culturally responsive learning, environments, and enhanced language access
  • Capital improvements, like major construction or renovation
  • General program costs, like the basic expenses of owning and operating your business. This includes: regular payroll costs, rent, utilities, maintenance, insurance, and other operating costs.

How does a provider apply for a grant?

Licensed providers and Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers will log into the WA Compass Provider Portal, navigate to the Grant Information tab, select Current Grants, and select the DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant application. The provider will answer a series of questions and then submit the application.

For ECEAP and Early ECEAP sites and Play and Learn Groups, we have provided the application in two different formats - choose the format that works best for you: 

The application submission window opened on June 28, 2022 and will close at 11:59 p.m. on August 16, 2022.

Early Childhood Equity Grant Application Preview Guide

Preview the application questions:

English | Spanish | Somali | Russian | Arabic | Mandarin

DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant Manual

Get more information about accessing the application:

English | Spanish | Somali | Russian | Arabic | Mandarin

DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant Application Step-by-Step Guide

Get more information about the application steps:

English | Spanish | Somali | Russian | Arabic | Mandarin

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