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DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant 2024 Technical Assistance


Equity grant application is open until March 29, 2024.


The Fair Start for Kids Act (FSKA) directs the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (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 and 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.


The Washington State Legislature passed the FSKA in 2021. The total budget allocation authorized by the Legislature for the Early Childhood Equity Grants is $10.2 million for fiscal years 2024-2025. The Early Childhood Equity Grant helps support culturally responsive programming so that children have access to diverse care that meets their needs. Equity is all about working on and improving the fairness of how things are done, whether it’s in the rules, the procedures, or how resources are shared. The goal is to make sure that every child has a fair chance, even though that doesn’t mean every child gets exactly the same thing.


DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant Round 2






DCYF engaged in a refinement process between the first round of the grant and the second one. This involved engaging with: Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) and Provider Supports Subcommittee; Indian Policy Early Learning (IPEL); ally organizations including Voices of Tomorrow, the Imagine Institute, and Child Care Aware of Washington; SEIU 925; internal DCYF staff; and child care providers.


We updated several aspects of the grant as a direct response to the feedback we received. Some of those updates include:

  • Adjustments to prioritize providers serving tribal children
  • Changes to focus the prioritization criteria on the children served, and include more children from underserved areas
  • Lowering the minimum amount a provider can apply for to allow for smaller project proposals
  • Creating specific outcome categories for project proposals
  • Requiring reporting of project results

For more details on the updates DCYF made and the feedback that inspired them, see the Overview of Round 2 Refinements on the DCYF website.

Equity grant application is open until March 29, 2024.


The Early Childhood Equity Grant is awarded through a competitive grant process. Applying does not guarantee that an eligible provider will receive a grant award. It is likely that there will be a large number of applications that DCYF is unable to fund. Eligible applicants may only receive an Early Childhood Equity Grant every two years.

Eligibility is 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.

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 can the Grant be Used for?

Grant funds must be used for projects with one of the following goals:

Preventing suspension and expulsion. Some examples of project activities might include:

Increasing the use of research-informed social-emotional teaching practices. Some examples of project activities might include:

Increasing the use of culturally and linguistically responsive practices and decreasing bias in the classroom. Some examples of project activities might include:

Offering ongoing child assessment and developmental screening

Connecting families to services and supports that meet health, mental health, financial, or other needs

Other: another project to incorporate inclusive practices, culturally and linguistically supportive and relevant practices, or both into early learning program design, delivery, education, training, and/or evaluation. You must describe the intended outcome of your project.

All funding requested needs to be related to your chosen outcome/goal. You can request funding in the following categories for up to the listed amounts:

CategoryWhat is included?Maximum Request
Hiring Specialized staffCosts for adding specialized staff needed to complete the project activities$100,000
Child care materials and experiencesMaterials needed to complete the project activities that will be used by children or by staff during care of children, or activities that will be carried out with children (e.g., culturally relevant toys, field trips)$20,000
Office and business suppliesMaterials needed to complete the project activities that will be used primarily by staff when not directly caring for children$10,000
Staff trainingCosts for training needed to complete the project activities and any associated costs$50,000
Program evaluation and assessment toolsTools to evaluate different aspects of your program, or your program overall$10,000
Other servicesOther services needed to complete the project activities (e.g., translation service)$20,000
Other materialsOther materials needed to complete the project activities (e.g., educational materials about challenging behaviors for parents)$20,000
*Please note that your total request must still be within the minimum and maximum amounts described
in the “How are Grant Amounts Decided” section above.
Grant funds may not be used for:
  • Activities or materials that do not advance or inspire practices that promote inclusive and culturally responsive learning, environments, and enhanced language access
  • Costs not related to the project outcome
  • Religious activities or purposes, including worship or instruction
  • Academic, professional, or vocational degrees or certificates, or classes in such programs
  • Capital improvements, like major construction or renovation
  • General program costs, like the basic expenses of owning and operating your business. This includes things like:
    • Regular payroll costs for existing staff that you already employ in your business
    • Costs of purchasing, owning, or maintaining a vehicle
    • Costs associated with the space out of which you operate, like rent or utilities
    • Insurance
    • Federal taxes
    • Indirect costs
    • Other business operating costs
  • Raises or bonuses for existing staff, or newly hired staff who are not part of your project
  • Gifts for families

This can include things like:

Grant funds may not be used for:

Application Information

  • Applicant Selection
    The Early Childhood Equity Grant is awarded through a competitive grant process. All applications received within the application period will be reviewed. First, all applications will be screened for eligibility and completeness using the criteria described in the Application Preview Guide.

    To be considered, applications must be complete, for eligible facilities, and propose projects that are eligible for funding. If more eligible applications are submitted for funding than DCYF is able to fund, which is what we expect, the agency will prioritize applications according to factors decided in collaboration with providers and other stakeholders during the design and refinement process. Once an applicant has been awarded grant funds, all funds must be spent within two years of receiving the grant award and within the scope of the proposed project.
  • Screening

  • Provider Eligibility
    Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements described in Section 2: Eligibility will not be considered for funding.

  • Project Eligibility
    Grant funds must be used for a project with one of the listed outcomes/goals described above. For more details, please see the “What Can Funds Be Used For?” section above and the Application Preview Guide.

    Applications that do not meet this standard will not be considered for funding.

  • Completeness
    To be considered complete, all necessary questions must be answered with relevant information, and the answers must be clear and understandable. Applications that do not meet this standard will not be considered for funding. For example, providers may request funding in multiple categories, and the funding requested in each category must add up to the total funding request.

Important information

Providers should review their applications carefully before submitting them to make sure each necessary question is answered and that their answers make sense. Providers are encouraged to review their applications with our Technical Assistance partner.


Providers can request the amount of funding needed to make the desired improvement(s) to their early learning program design, program delivery, program evaluation, and/or staff education/training. Providers may request funds in any or all of these categories.


Provider TypeMinimum AwardMaximum Award
Licensed/certified providers$5,000$100,000
Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers$100$2,000
Play and Learn Host Organizations$5,000$30,000
ECEAP/Early ECEAP contractors$5,000$100,000

Applications with requests outside of those ranges will not be considered.

Award amounts will vary by provider type. DCYF will accept requests within the following ranges based on provider type:


Providers must keep all receipts from purchases made with Early Childhood Equity Grant funds for five years and may be asked to submit receipts to DCYF. If the provider is unable to submit receipts, they may be required to return part or all of the funds to the State of Washington.

Application opensFebruary 12, 2024
Application closesMarch 29, 2024 at 5pm
Applicants notified about whether they are finalistsLate April 2024
Scoring team meetsApril/May 2024
Finalists are notified of award decisions and required technical assistance session deadlineJune 2024
Payments processed2-4 weeks after technical assistance session deadline

Need Assistance?

Technical assistance is available in both 1-on-1 or small group sessions.

These sessions can be delivered in-person, virtually, or over the phone. 

Technical assistance is available to support you in your preferred language.


Technical assistance can:

  • Help you apply for the DCYF Early Childhood Equity Grant
  • Understand how funding can be used, and records need to be maintained
  • Connect providers to resources and answer additional questions.

Contact us to connect with a Technical Assistant

Call us at 206-492-5249 or email us at