Current Initiatives

DCYF prioritized key workforce initiatives to support early childhood educators in growing their skills and to recruit and retain Washington’s early childhood education workforce.

Equivalencies Workgroup 

DCYF has released the recommendation’s report produced by the Equivalencies Workgroup, along with a response letter from Secretary Hunter and a process document outlining DCYF's plan for experience-based competency demonstration.


Throughout the state, Washington is experiencing an increase in demand for ECE educators. In order to keep pace with the growing need of qualified early learning professionals, DCYF is engaging in key strategies to grow and retain our workforce. 

 Recent compensation Initiatives include:

  • 2016-2017: DCYF (formerly DEL), in partnership with the Office of the Governor, received a workforce grant from the National Governor’s Association to help us move forward with improving compensation for our early learning workforce.
  • 2017- present: Creation of the Early Childhood Education Workforce Council. The council focuses on ensuring that the degrees, certificates, and endorsements for early learning are progressive, valued, and transferable. 
  • 2017-2018:  DEL launched the compensation technical Workgroup to provide recommendations to the legislature on increasing child care workforce wages.
  • 2018-2019: Compensation Report for Washington Legislature and Governor.
  • 2019-2025: Washington Legislature passes Child Care Access Now act (HB 1344) and includes direction for compensation efforts.

Dual Language Learning 

Research shows that young children benefit cognitively from learning more than one language. Dual language learning is critical to a child’s success in school and life and is an area of focus.
In July 2017, the legislature passed House Bill 1455 into law which requires DCYF to:

  • Work with community partners to support outreach and education for parents and families around the benefits of native language development and dual language learning.
  • Create training & professional development resources on dual language learning.
  • Support dual language learning communities for teachers and coaches.

DCYF is currently working with I-LABS to develop training, resources, coaching tools, and outreach materials while gathering input and guidance from many community partners that are experts in this work.

Early Numeracy

In Washington state, only 66% of children arrive in kindergarten showing readiness in math according to the WaKIDS evaluation. Because early math proficiency predicts future school and life success, we are focusing on supporting early learning professionals to feel empowered to teach math in their classrooms.
Recent early numeracy initiatives in Washington include:

  • Landscape analysis and recommendations – DCYF worked with state partners to understand early math efforts across the state and provide recommendation for further efforts. This report will be available soon, and a poster summary is available now.
  • Early Math Coalition (EMC) – the EMC is an aligned group of early math partners committed to strategies for improving math readiness. The EMC partners are dedicated to reducing the practical, cultural, and structural barriers that inhibit early math learning for children in Washington. Find out about EMC’s theory of change and principles.
  • Early Math Modules – first developed by OSPI, the early math modules have been shared throughout our state. These modules were adapted by DCYF to incorporate Teaching Strategies Gold and other ECEAP practices. 

Education Equivalents

DCYF is committed to providing culturally responsive pathways for early learning providers to meet the education requirements outlined in the new WAC.

A workgroup made up of early learning professionals, community members, and partners is developing the “equivalents” process for meeting the updated education requirements. This workgroup will make recommendations to DCYF on what to include in the final list of equivalents and a process for honoring existing knowledge within the field.

The recommended “equivalents” will include:

  • A list of recognized certificates and credentials
  • A way for recognizing existing knowledge and skills

The workgroup is meeting through December 2018. Updates and drafts from the workgroup will be posted on this page, check back soon for updates!