Washington State’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program Helps Children and Families
Olympia, WA — The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) oversees the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which is the state’s pre-kindergarten program that prepares children and families for success in school and life. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee designated ECEAP services as essential. As a result, these essential services have continued helping children and families throughout the pandemic.
ECEAP provides 3- and 4-year-old children from families furthest from opportunity with free early learning education to support the child’s development and learning. ECEAP also works closely with parents and families to support their child’s health and education and to meet family goals.
In this video, ECEAP Helps Children and Families, former ECEAP parent Corinne Vargas explains how ECEAP services benefited her and both of her sons.
“David was diagnosed with autism about three years ago. ECEAP helped him a lot to get ready for kindergarten,” Corinne said. “Some preschools around here cost a lot of money. And, a lot of times, David needed extra support, and so you’d have to pay extra for extra support. When he was in ECEAP and they were willing to help him, I didn’t feel like him being here was a burden . . . He was a totally different kid by the time he left [ECEAP].”
ECEAP provides high-quality comprehensive services that focus on the whole child. Children receive individualized, child-centered services including education, health coordination, and family support services. ECEAP serves the children and families who are most frequently denied educational justice and access to safe and affordable housing and livelihoods.
Throughout COVID-19, all ECEAP contractors – regardless of whether or not they kept classrooms open – have continued to provide services to the 14,000 ECEAP children and their families across Washington in a variety of ways. These services provided remote learning options and resources including food, education, health and safety, parents, economic, and mental health supports.
Learn more about how ECEAP has continued to provide essential services during COVID-19 at www.dcyf.wa.gov/news/how-eceap-continued-provide-essential-services-during-covid-19.
Learn more about ECEAP quality and impacts at www.dcyf.wa.gov/sites/default/files/pubs/EL_0028.pdf.