The Workforce Retention grant application is now closed.

DCYF Workforce Retention Grant

If you have unspent grant funds, find out how to return those funds.
  • DCYF distributed Workforce Retention Grant funds to over 3,600 licensed providers representing over 18,300 unique verified workers!
  • DCYF was able to put $13 million toward this opportunity. Divided by the total number of eligible workers, this amounted to $700 per worker.
  • Some workers are employed at more than one licensed facility and DCYF did due diligence to ensure no duplicate payments were made. Workers who work at more than one licensed facility will receive payment from just one facility.


To be responsive to workforce retention concerns and help providers retain their staff, DCYF will offer a workforce retention grant. Providers can use these funds to provide one-time payments to their workers in eligible roles.


The application is open to licensed or certified child care providers who:

  • Are open and serving at least one enrolled child at the time of application
  • Have staff records up to date in MERIT. All eligible workers must be listed as 'confirmed' or ‘verified' in MERIT. 'Self-entered' workers are not eligible. 
  • Have applied for the Child Care Stabilization Grant (this grant is still open through Sept. 30, 2022, and providers are still able to apply)

Providers must include the number of eligible staff that work for them. Eligible staff roles include:

  • Classroom Roles: lead teacher, assistant teacher, aide
  • Administrative Roles: licensee, director, assistant director, program supervisor
  • Support Roles*: (cook, transportation, etc.) 
    *if you have an employee in a support role, be prepared to include their name and STARS ID number on your grant application
  • This does not include volunteers, household members, or substitutes

Licensed family home providers, center directors, and any other licensee who works on-site may count themselves as an eligible staff role.

What is the amount of this grant?

DCYF will divide the available funding evenly among the total eligible child care workers across all applicants.

What can the grant be used for?

Providers must distribute the funds equally in one lump sum payment to each eligible worker. Providers must distribute the funds through a payroll system or as a check. Providers must not distribute the funds as gift cards, cash, or other non-payroll compensation.

Providers may use up to 15% of the total grant amount for the following purposes:

  • Pay for payroll software
  • Pay an accountant or financial advisor
  • Pay administrative employees who work to disburse the funds

Providers must keep documentation of payments to eligible workers as well as receipts and documentation for any purchases made with the 15% amount and must provide this documentation to DCYF if asked.

How to Apply

The application is now available on the WA Compass Provider Portal.

The application closes on October 20, 2022 at 11:59pm

See more information on how to apply:

Application Step-by-Step Guide

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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 questions on spending and saving receipts, you can contact either the Imagine Institute or Voices of Tomorrow.

Application Questions

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

WA Compass Provider Portal

To access your account or review your profile and licensing information, log in to the WA Compass Provider Portal.

Can’t Log In?

If you need help logging in to your Provider Portal account, email or call 866-627-8929.

Returning Unspent Funds

To return unspent grant funds, you can mail a check with a note explaining you are returning DCYF Workforce Retention Grant funds to the address below. Be sure to include the Name of the childcare and the SSPS ID or Licensed Provider ID.

Attn: Finance
P.O. Box 40970 
Olympia, WA 98504-0970

Is there a deadline to apply for this grant?

Yes, the deadline to apply is October 20, 2022 by 11:59 PM