Early Learning Advisory Council meetings occur six times per year from 9am to 4pm at rotating locations around the state.  Chelle Downey-Magee, Director of Issaquah Montessori School, is the WFIS representative on ELAC.   The June 5th at Holiday Inn Yakima meeting was open to the public.   

Child Care Development Fund Plan update

The submission date for this plan was July 1, many public meetings had been held and the draft was available on the DEL website for comment until June 9.

  • Because this is a federal grant, state standards must meet federal rules. The standards concerning “non-related Family, Friends and Neighbor care” (FFN) are particularly tricky as far as health and safety. How much training should FFN caregivers have, and on what topics?
  • DCYF will include FFN in the Portable Background Check (PBC) program, which is being enhanced to meet federal rules by October 1, 2019. Federal rules mandate that everyone who lives in a home where FFN care occurs must meet the background check requirements. How can DYCF ensure that the PBC is available in remote areas, for whom English is a second language or have other barriers?

For more information: Matt Judge, Child Care Administrator DCYF


DCYF Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability

This office was created by the bill that created DCYF; “the department must develop definitions for, work plans to address, and metrics to measure the outcomes for children, youth and families served by the department.” 

  • The outcomes measures are in three categories; improving, preventing and reducing
    • Improving child development and school readiness child and youth safety, permanency and wellbeing; reconciliation of children and youth with their families
    • Preventing child abuse and neglect
    • Reducing multisystem involvement; future demand for mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment for youth; criminal justice involvement and recidivism; racial and ethnic disproportionality
  • The broad categories for goals are: education, health, resilience
  • The criteria for selecting goals are: granular, frequent, accessible, aligned, few and concise
  • If a child is kindergarten ready, what are the odds that they are safe and healthy?
  • The baseline performance assessment for the department:
    • Use (both qualitative and quantitative) data and evidence, identify the extent to which policies and processes have an observable impact on children’s lives.
    • Develop targets for improving the agency’s performance in making that impact
    • Recommend organizational changes that will help DCYF hit those targets
  • What’s the role of DCYF in an accurate count in Census 2020?

For more information: Jessica Horst jessica.horst@dcyf.wa.gov


Early Learning Facilities Program Pilot

This pilot program from the Department of Commerce helps create additional early learning facilities throughout Washington.

  • The program consists of four parts:
    1. Direct appropriations from the legislature
    2. A loan program operated by a Community Development Financial Institution
    3. A competitive grant program
    4. A K-12 program (separate funding track)
  • The funds have been awarded through the 2017-2019 state Capital Budget; no federal dollars involved
  • Project grant amounts range from $10,000 to $800,000 per project
  • You must be active in Early Achievers and serve, or intend to serve EACAP or Working Connections Child Care in order to be eligible.

For more information: Katrina Perez katrina.perez@commerce.wa.gov


Compliance Approach and Checklist Design

The new WACs are going through the weighting process. Current challenges include inconsistent enforcement of the current WACs throughout the state and unwritten rules (a lack of transparency).

  • The new approach has two parts:
    1. Single finding score
      1. Any current site visit
      2. Single WAC weight–> action
    2. Overall licensing score
      1. Inclusive of licensing history
      2. Overall score = possible action
  • If the violation is low risk technical assistance is provided. As the level of risk increases, so do the weights, with denial of license, suspension or revocation being the most severe penalties.
  • As with golf, a low score is good. Accumulated points fall off after three years.
  • The calculations will consider only the three most recent visits or 36 months of history.

“We need a tool that can help them do it right the first time.” 

  • The new checklist must be consistent, usable, with value placed in the outcomes.
  • The new system will have one checklist rather than two. The single checklist is designed to be expandable and intuitive.
  • The checklist has nine sections: Intent and Authority, Child Outcomes/Family Engagement, Interactions/Curriculum, Program Oversight, Environment-Indoor, Environment-Outdoor/General, Food and Nutrition, Infant Toddler, Professional Development.
  • Each section will always have: Fiene Key Indicators, regulations most critical to children’s immediate health and safety, no more than three historical “findings” per section, rotating regulations of the remaining weight values.
  • Checklist expansion will happen only if a Key Indicator or heavily weighted regulation is found to be non-compliant.
  • A provider’s strengths are rewarded with lover oversight in those areas and support is focused where providers need it most!
  • A crosswalk is in development to show the differences between the old and new WACs.
  • The proposed launch of the content portion of the new WACs is August 2019, with the weight launch in August 2020.


Policy Development and Review

DEL to DCYF Transition

  • It’s going well–down to key cards and parking, testing a lot of staff.
  • Vast majority of the same people at the same desk doing the same thing the next day
  • Behind the scenes, the mechanics are going well
  • A lot of legitimate concern that early learning would get lost in the wash…would all the dollars for prevention get siphoned off for needs in child welfare

CCDF Grant

  • Was essentially doubled.*
  • Not enough to pay for quality, pay workers or capacity. 
  • Primarily increase rate for subsidy providers–drowning but they can see the surface.
  • Not enough to pay for quality, pay workers or capacity.

Families First Act

  • Transformative piece of legislation–increase in quality in group homes
  • WA has some of the fewest children in congregate care–orphanages essentially
  • You get a chance to drawn down 4E federal grants, to use preventative dollars

*Primarily increase rate for subsidy providers–drowning but they can see the surface.

We are now 25 days away from the singularity… End of August–decision packages.

December–28-30 reports to the legislature, to tell the story, to support the narrative of the new agency.  It is not anticipated that there will be an ask for any major pieces of legislation.  Bill 1661 was a big, fat bill, no giant reform package.

ELAC will receive updates on DEL programs, the DCYF transition and provide input on the agency request legislation for 2019.