DCYF Child Care Grant Opportunities

DCYF offers several different funding opportunities for child care providers. To learn more, review the different grant opportunities:

Needs-Based Grants are available for improving program quality. Grants may be used to assist with purchasing curriculum and instructional materials, supplies, equipment, focused infant-toddler improvements, environmental improvements, minor renovations to the child care facility, supports and materials or services for care of children with special needs, or other items as identified by the coach.

Who is eligible?

Early Achievers participants who have an open license in good standing may apply for the Needs-Based Grant if they meet at least one of the following:

  • Are enrolled in the USDA Tier 1 food program.
  • Are located within a school district that serves at least 20% low-income children based on Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) data.

How much funding is available?

Providers may request up to $1,000.

When can providers apply?

The Needs-Based Grant application is available each fiscal year. The grant application opens each year within the first week of July and remains open until all funds have been depleted. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. A provider may apply for a Needs-Based Grant one time each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

Where can I find more information?

See the Early Achievers Supports and Resources webpage.

Complex Needs Funds are intended to promote inclusive, least-restrictive environments, and to support child care providers serving children who have developmental delays, disabilities, behavioral needs, and/or other unique needs. 

Funding may be used for staffing, therapeutic services, facility improvements to comply with ADA accessibility requirements or behavioral needs, supportive and adaptive materials and equipment, and/or teacher-training.

Who is eligible?

Eligible providers include:

  • Open licensed, certified, or certified-for-payment-only child care providers.*
  • License-exempt Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers who have served at least one child on subsidy in four of the past six months, or two of the past three months and claim for subsidy through the Social Service Payment System (SSPS) at time of application.

*Licensed providers who are serving ECEAP slots are not eligible for the Child Care Complex Needs Fund. Instead, they should access Complex Needs Funds through their ECEAP contractor. 

To be eligible, providers must have children currently enrolled in their care who have behavioral needs, developmental delays, disabilities, or other unique needs.

How much funding can a provider apply for?

Open licensed, certified, and certified-for-payment-only child care providers may request between $5,000 and $100,000.
License-exempt FFN providers who are eligible may request between $100 and $2,000.

When can providers apply?

The Complex Needs Fund FY 2023-24 is now open for applications.

Where can I find more information?

See the Child Care Complex Needs Fund webpage.

The Early Childhood Equity Grant helps support culturally responsive programming so that children have access to diverse care that meets their needs. The grant seeks to advance and inspire practices that promote inclusive and culturally responsive learning, environments, and enhanced language access.

Who is eligible?

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.

When can providers apply?

The Early Childhood Equity Grant Application is currently open! The application will close March 29, 2024 at 5p.m. 

We currently expect that the Early Childhood Equity Grant will open for applications once per year. This may change in the future.

Where can I find more information?

See the Early Childhood Equity Grant webpage.

As a result of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, grant funds were available to help stabilize, support, and grow the diverse early learning workforce to rebuild a stronger child care system and expand access to affordable, high-quality child care.

The grant was available from Oct. 2021 – Sept. 2022. There were 6,852 applications approved and grant awards were distributed, totaling $363,355,750. This was a one-time grant, and it will not reopen in the future.

Where can I find more information?

If you received the Child Care Stabilization Grant and still need to access the grant information and materials to complete your receipt review process with DCYF, see the Child Care Stabilization Grant webpage.

Where to Find Assistance

Application Questions

If you have questions about a grant application, the timeline of a grant, or other questions specific to these grants, email dcyf.childcaregrants@dcyf.wa.gov.