Standards Alignment


Printer-friendly version

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. 

Proposed Aligned Standards **NEW**

The proposed aligned standards are now available to review HERE.  
Listed here are a few examples of rules that we’ve made changes to based on provider feedback. We’ve also listed rules we’ve heard some misconceptions about that we want to clear up. This list will be updated as things change and we process more feedback. 

Weighting the Aligned Standards

All licensing rules provide a foundation of protection for children. Each rule is designed to provide for the health, safety, and development of children in licensed care. However, a violation of some standards poses a greater risk to children than others. The process of “weighting” licensing standards will identify those rules that are most important for keeping children safe. Weighting standards will create an enforcement system that is consistent with the level of risk to children, ensuring the enforcement of these rules is both timely and consistent. It will also provide more information and clarity about the risk of each standard and the consequences for violations.

Community Input 

DEL has made provider and stakeholder feedback and inclusion a cornerstone of this process:
  • Nov. and Dec. 2015 –22 community input meetings across the state, more than 650 participants
  • April and May 2016 – 23 statewide meetings with 467 stakeholders
  • Alignment Advisory Committee meetings
  • Weighting process: focus groups, community survey
  • Negotiated rulemaking: providers, families, stakeholders
  • Online survey on the whole process:
Whenever possible, DEL has been flexible in response to feedback from providers and stakeholders. It’s not too late to get engaged!  Fill out our survey and make sure your voice is heard! 
To read materials from the Standards Alignment Advisory Committee visit our Advisory Committee or visit Thrive Washington's website.  

Early Achievers and ECEAP Standards Progression 

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.