Monday, June 18, 2018

ELAC members gather for last meeting under DEL

Members of the Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) gathered for their final meeting under the Department of Early Learning (DEL) earlier this month. The council discussed topics ranging from the new early learning facilities grant program to the July 1 transition to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).

One of the meeting’s highlights was a discussion on the early learning facilities grant program. The program, administered by the Department of Commerce, will provide nearly $15 million in grants and loans for early learning facilities. These grants will reimburse child care providers for up to 75 percent of the total cost of capital projects. Grants can range from $10,000 to $800,000. Eligible providers include those who serve or intend to serve children through the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) or Working Connections Child Care.

The meeting also touched on aspects of the DCYF transition. Members received an update on the new department’s outcome goals and measures, which will serve as the basis for the work of the new department. The goals will focus on the education, health and resilience of children, youth and families in Washington state. ELAC members encouraged the Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability to focus on prevention and strength-based resilience measures as they move forward.

Council members also began the task of streamlining the stakeholder advisory process. Both DEL and Children’s Administration, which is also joining DCYF on July 1, meet regularly with groups of stakeholders such as ELAC to get recommendations on policies and programs. Under DCYF, stakeholder groups will be combined, eliminated and added as necessary to establish a more effective advisory system.

“July 1 is just the start date,” said DEL Assistant Director Frank Ordway. “It’s really the beginning of the next chapter of work.”     

Also on the agenda were updates on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and the standards alignment process. ELAC members wished a fond farewell to departing member Peter Finch, assistant superintendent at the West Valley School District, who has been an active member on the council for two years.

“I really appreciate the lens you bring, Peter, to this table. Your passion and your energy are very evident when you talk about young children in early learning,” said ELAC Regional Advisor Enrica Hampton. “We’re going to miss you tremendously.”

Although he is leaving the group, Finch said he hopes to attend future meetings as a member of the public.

The next ELAC meeting will be held August 14 in Spokane. For updates on ELAC’s activities, visit

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