Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meet the Lymans: Early Intervention Services in Washington State

Meet the Lymans!

The Lymans are a Washington family that benefits from Early Intervention Services for their daughter, Phoebe. Hear their story and find out about the kind of high-quality early learning the Lymans experience. Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) is a Washington State program that serves thousands of children each year.

Early intervention services during the first three years can make a big difference in a child’s life. According to the Lymans, their daughter Pheobe has had consistent support and has made developmental progress since her birth!

The Department of Early Learning's (DEL) Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program provides services to children birth to age 3 who have disabilities or developmental delays. Eligible infants and toddlers and their families are entitled to individualized, quality early intervention services in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C.

Early intervention services are designed to enable young children to be active, independent and successful participants in a variety of settings—in their homes*, in child care, in preschool programs and in their communities--*you can see this in Phoebe's play time with her parents and with her dog, Pepper :). 

Fast Facts about ESIT:
  • 6,529 infants/toddlers and their families served at any one time 
  • 13,686 eligible infants/toddlers and their families received services 
  • 29% of toddlers exiting early intervention did not qualify for special education at age 3 
  • 94% of infants/toddlers and families received services in the natural environment 
  • 82% of families surveyed reported knowing their rights to the program 
  • 89% of families surveyed reported early intervention helped them effectively communicate their child’s needs 
  • 86% of families surveyed reported early intervention helped them to help their child develop and learn
Statistics based on early intervention service delivery in Washington, July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

For more information about Early Intervention in Washington State, go here:

Special thanks to the Lymans for letting DEL share your inspirational story and optimism!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

State Welcomes New Statewide Licensing Administrator

The Washington State Department of Early Learning (DEL) is pleased to announce that Travis Hansen has accepted the Early Learning Statewide Licensing Administrator position. Hansen is currently the Regional Administrator for DEL’s North Central region, which includes counties from Okanogan in the north to southern Klickitat.

Travis comes to this position with a wealth of experience and dedication to early learning. He has devoted his passion and energy to Washington State social and early learning services for over 10 years. Travis’s professional history and his vision for licensing services as a foundation to a quality early learning system will be a great asset to the DEL administration team. 

Travis Hansen, Statewide Licensing Administrator
“I believe quality child care starts with a healthy and safe child,” said Hansen. “It is a true honor to be able to work in such a great early learning system in Washington State.”
For the last four years Travis has successfully lead licensing services in 13 counties of the North Central region, supporting children, families, early learning providers, and communities from the Canada to Oregon borders.

Prior to that, Hansen was DEL’s Licensing Supervisor for the Yakima Office, Travis also worked as a program manager, therapist, and a supervisor for various agencies, including the Department of Social and Health Services, Crest Counseling Services and EPIC Youth Services. 
“Travis brings many skills and talents that are transferrable and highly desirable to this new role,” said Luba Bezborodnikova, DEL Assistant Director.
More about Travis: 
Travis earned his Master’s degree in Social Work with a specialization in Counseling as well as Public Administration from Eastern Washington University. Hansen and his wife have five children of their own, Riley, Cooper, Chase, Brady, and Hunter—all boys.

Favorite children's book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Best childhood memory: spending the summers at Priest Lake in Idaho. 
"I remember running around all over the lake as a kid. We would camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, and have campfires every night."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

WA Makes Gains in Pre-K Funding and Enrollment

Many 3- and 4-year olds across the nation still lack access to high-quality preschool education despite modest gains in enrollment, quality, and funding, according to an annual report by the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University.

In Washington, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) enrolled 10,091 children, up 1350 in 2014-2015, serving eight percent of the state’s 4-year-olds. Washington maintained consistent progress in terms of quality standards– meeting nine of NIEER’s minimum quality standards benchmarks. As of 2014-2015, ECEAP was required to participate in the state’ quality rating and improvement system, called Early Achievers. In 2014-2105, the state invested a total of $83 million in ECEAP, with approximately $76 million of these funds coming from state dollars from the state general fund and the “opportunity pathways account,” which is derived from lottery revenue.
“NIEER’s findings support our need for more high-quality programs and importantly, the inclusion of full-day models into our early learning settings,” said Department of Early Learning Director, Ross Hunter. “As we near our state’s milestone of making preschool an entitlement for low-income families, we need to ensure expansion of programs that prove success in child outcomes.”
More about ECEAP:
  • 60% of ECEAP children are ready the spring before entering Kindergarten.
  • There are 11,955 children eligible for ECEAP who are not served by ECEAP or Head Start. According to the February 2016 Caseload Forecast Council, 6,260 of these would likely participate if space were available. 
  • By fall 2020’s entitlement milestone*, Washington will need 7,377 more slots for children than Washington currently has, based on the children likely to participate. 
    • This requires adding 1,844 more slots each year for the next four years, beginning with the 2017-18 school years. 
    Inside an ECEAP classroom.
  • To add the 7,377 by fall 2020, Washington will need 266 more classrooms, 266 more trained lead teachers, and 266 more assistant teachers.
*The Legislature has made preschool a statutory entitlement for families with incomes at or below 110% of federal poverty level, or FPL, by fall 2020.

The State of Preschool report for the 2014-2015 school year, which includes objective state-by-state profiles and rankings, indicates that urgent action is needed from lawmakers at all levels of government to ensure that every child – particularly those from low-income families – have access to high-quality early education. For the first year, NIEER also analyzed states’ early education workforce and Dual Language Learner policies, which reveal that Washington is one of 14 states that can report the home language of every pre-K student. However, Washington does not require pre-K teachers to have a Bachelor’s degree, nor does it provide salary parity between pre-K and K-3 teachers.

The report finds that total state spending on pre-K programs for the nation as a whole increased by 10 percent, or $553 million, since the previous year, bringing state spending in 2014-2015 to over $6.2 billion. The number of children served by state-funded pre-K served increased by 37,167 in 2014-2015, bringing the total to almost 1.4 million children – the largest number of children ever served by state-funded pre-K. With an average rate of $4,489, states also made one of the most significant increases in spending per child in recent history.

For more information on The State of Preschool 2015 yearbook and detailed state-by-state breakdowns on quality benchmarks, enrollment, and funding, please click here.

More about DEL and NIEER:The Department of Early Learning was created in 2006 to help all Washington children reach their full potential. DEL oversees the state-funded preschool program, child care licensing and subsidies, early intervention services, and other initiatives and programs to support parents as children’s first and most important teachers. For more information, go to

The National Institute for Early Education Research ( at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy and practice through independent, objective research.