We are currently in the refinement period between Round 1 and Round 2 of the Early Childhood Equity Grant. Read below for details on what this means and how you can help!

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 program.

The Early Childhood Equity Grant helps support culturally responsive programming so that children have access to diverse care that meets their needs.

Timeline update

DCYF originally stated that there would be three rounds of applications for the Early Childhood Equity Grant (Summer 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023), and each round of applications would have $1.7 million available, for a total of $5.1 million. After carefully considering feedback from stakeholders and partners after the first round, we have decided to hold only one additional round of the grant this fiscal year instead of two. This means two rounds in total ($1.7 million was awarded in Summer 2022, and $3.4 million will be available in Spring 2023). This decision was made to allow more time for engagement in the refinement process, ensure that the grant meets its intended goals, and honor meaningful involvement from providers, stakeholders, allies, and government partners.

The remaining $3.4 million in funds for this period will be awarded during the second round of applications. We expect the second round of the Early Childhood Equity Grant to open in Spring 2023.

What else is changing?

We don’t know yet! We are currently surveying Washington child care providers to learn about how to make the grant better. If you are one, we want to hear from you! Please take our survey here:

English | Spanish | Somali

Your answers will be completely anonymous, and you can skip any questions you don't want to answer. The survey will close on Feb. 24, 2023. Your feedback is important and will help DCYF make refinements for the next funding opportunity. 

We have also been meeting with ally organizations, government to government tribal representatives, and other stakeholders to get their feedback.

We will compile the feedback and hope to provide more information in early Spring 2023.

What happened in 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.

Who is eligible for the Early Childhood Equity Grant?

When the grant reopens for Round 2, eligibility will be 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 contractors
  • 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.

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

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, please contact either the Imagine Institute or Voices of Tomorrow.

Refinement Questions

If you have questions or want to submit feedback about the application, the timeline of the grant, or other topics specific to the grant, email dcyf.childcaregrants@dcyf.wa.gov.