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.
Who is eligible for the Early Childhood Equity Grant?
When the grant re-opens, eligibility will be open to:
- Licensed, certified, or certified for payment only child care providers with an open license in good standing.
- License-exempt Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers serving children receiving state subsidies.
- Licensed ECEAP/Early ECEAP sites
- ECEAP/Early ECEAP contractors
- Play and Learn Group Host Organizations 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. This is the result of a contractual agreement between CCA of WA and the State of Washington and applies to Play and Learn Groups.
Eligible applicants can receive an Early Childhood Equity Grant once every two years.
For licensed, certified, and license-exempt FFN providers: grants are awarded to a specific licensed facility/site, not a larger organization. Providers with multiple licensed locations will need to submit a separate application for each licensed site that qualifies to apply for a grant.
Unlicensed ECEAP sites may not apply for this grant. ECEAP/Early ECEAP Contractors may submit a single application with information on all sites included in their project.
Facilities that are both licensed and serving ECEAP slots may apply on their own. Licensed sites cannot receive Early Childhood Equity Grant Funding from both their contractor and directly from DCYF.
Play and Learn groups should submit a single application per host organization, with information on all sites included in their project.
What happened in the 2022 Early Childhood Equity Grant (Round 1)?
A summary is available in the resources sidebar.
What happened in the 2023 Early Childhood Equity Grant (Round 2)?
- The Early Childhood Equity Grant application opened on May 10, 2023 and closed June 30, 2023. The application and materials were available in six languages.
- The grant application was created in partnership with design teams made up of providers using Liberatory Design. The application was further refined for the second round, using feedback from providers, ally organizations, government to government tribal representatives, and other stakeholders.
- DCYF’s budget for Round 2 was $3.4 million. 943 applications were received requesting over $47 million.
- DCYF did quality assurance checks on all applications. DCYF removed applications for the following reasons: not eligible, funds requested for disallowed purposes, incomplete applications, and applications requesting funding outside the allowable range.
- DCYF then prioritized applications according to prioritization factors developed in partnership with providers and further refined based on the feedback collected after Round 1.
- A community review panel reviewed the 90 highest priority projects. DCYF used their scores to select the applications to fund.
- Round 2 total grant awards will fund 65 applications, totaling $3.4 million: 12 from Licensed Family Homes, 49 from Child Care Centers, 2 from ECEAP Contractors, 1 from a Play and Learn Group, and 1 from a Family, Friend, and Neighbor caregiver.
When will the 2024 Early Childhood Equity Grant open?
We expect the 2024 Early Childhood Equity Grant to open in Spring 2024.
What about after 2024?
The Early Childhood Equity Grant will open for applications once per year. This may change in the future.
Where can I get help?
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 the Imagine Institute.
If you have questions about the application, the timeline of the grant, or other topics specific to the grant, email email@example.com.