Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

Standards Alignment


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Standards Alignment Timeline


The Early Start Act mandates that the Department of Early Learning (DEL) undertake alignment of standards across Licensing, Early Achievers and ECEAP.  Alignment involves:

  • Updating Licensing, Early Achievers and ECEAP requirements 
  • Creating a progression of standards and regulations between licensed child care, Early Achievers and ECEAP, so that the early learning system has a unified set of regulations that are easy to understand by providers in the field. 
DEL is required by statute RCW 34.05.320 to organize a public comments process, as well as negotiate rules with the Family Home Providers’ union on behalf of represented family child care licensees, and include all other affected parties in this negotiation. DEL has created a robust plan to engage the early learning community in the public comments process, and to negotiate with the various affected parties in this situation, including Child Care Centers, ECEAP and Head Start providers, and Families.
Click HERE to learn more and find out how you can be involved!
If you would like to review the draft proposed standards and provide comments, documents with the current standards, the draft proposed standards, and justifications for changes can be viewed HERE.
Children receive services in many different early learning settings. During their early years many children will attend some combination of early care and education programs. These can be licensed, participating in Early Achievers, and/or offering ECEAP services. To give children the biggest benefit, it’s essential that these early learning programs provide consistent services and use the same basic foundation so that higher levels of quality can be achieved.