Monday, July 23, 2012

Help all children start school strong at annual conference: Registration closes August 1

Children start stronger when the adults in their lives are working together to help them succeed!

The fourth annual Starting Strong P-3 Institute next month will bring together early learning professionals and K-12 educators to talk about innovative ways to align systems. The Department of Early Learning is proud to be a sponsor of this event.

This year's conference takes place Aug. 14 and 15 in Vancouver, Wash. Registration closes on Aug. 1! Scholarships are available. Visit to learn more and register.

The three main goals of Starting Strong are:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Share your input on how state and local groups work together on behalf of children

The Department of Early Learning, in collaboration with our partners at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Thrive by Five Washington (Thrive), has started the Washington Early Learning State and Local Coordination Project.

This project is meant to strengthen how different parts of the state’s early learning system–state agencies, regional collaborative efforts, K-12 education and child care providers–work together to support children in Washington.

Since February, the project conducted community research to better understand barriers to a strong early learning system, opportunities for improving it, and promising practices from other states. We are conducting an initial round of outreach, and want your input! Click here to learn more and take a brief survey. The survey closes at the end of July.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2 is a big day for early learning in Washington

Several changes that affect child care professionals, families and early learning advocates have taken effect as of today: 
  • Portable background checks. Beginning July 1, our state moves to portable background checks for those working in child care. View more information on portable background checks, including information on an upcoming webinar for providers, and a frequently asked questions document.
  • Child care subsidy eligibility. Beginning July 1, eligible families can be authorized for Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidies for 12 months at a time. Also, WCCC eligibility limits change from 175 percent federal poverty level to 200 percent federal poverty level. These changes may help more families access WCCC. There is no wait list for WCCC at this time. Information about these changes to subsidies will be posted on DEL’s WCCC page on Monday, July 2. Please share this information in your community.
  • Statewide expansion of Early Achievers begins. Early Achievers, our state’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system:
    • Connects families to child care and early learning programs with the help of an easy-to-understand rating system.
    • Offers coaching, financial incentives and resources for child care providers.
    • Find out more about how child care providers and families can benefit from Early Achievers.
  • The work of Council for Children and Families becomes part of DEL. The 2011 Legislature passed House Bill 1965, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, that called for the Council to sunset on June 30, 2012, and its early learning functions and funding transferred to DEL.
    The Council for Children & Families, which the Legislature created in 1982, will now be called Strengthening Families Washington. The functions of Strengthening Families Washington include:
    • Community-based parent learning, leadership and volunteer opportunities
    • Postpartum mood disorder public awareness campaign (Speak Up When You’re Down)
    • Shaken Baby Syndrome public awareness campaign (Have a Plan)
    • Leadership on behalf of state and national partners to support effective child maltreatment prevention efforts

    • Information about Strengthening Families Washington is available on DEL's website at