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

Research, Data and Reports


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To find DEL reports to the Governor and Legislature, visit our Government Relations section.

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) oversees the Cost of Quality project as a part of DEL's obligation to create an effective and continuous early learning system for children and families in Washington State. DEL designed Phase II with a mission to understand the costs of operating a child care center and the related costs associated with Early Achievers. Executive Summary


In 2016-2017, The Department of Early Learning (DEL) undertook a new Racial Equity Initiative to strengthen the department’s organizational capacity to advance racial equity. The outline for this initiative describes the need for “data and metrics to track results and measure the impact of DEL’s actions at the child/family/community level and outcomes at the program/agency level.”


In January 2017 the Department of Early Learning (DEL) surveyed child care centers and family homes on the impact of Initiative 1433 (“I-1433”) raising Washington’s minimum wage. The data collected indicates that providers were broadly impacted by the initiative.


The Department of Early Learning (DEL) is directed by RCW 43.215.020 to use currently collected data to compare state-funded child care compensation rates to market rates, cross-compare child care programs in other states and make biennial recommendations to the legislature on compensation models to attract high quality professionals.


This report, commissioned by House Bill 2519 during the 2014 legislative session, directs the Department of Early Learning (DEL) and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to jointly develop recommendations on methods to better partner to ensure children involved in the child welfare system have access to early learning services and developmentally appropriate child care services and report these recommendations to the governor and appropriate legislative committees. 


House Bill 2867 asked DEL to submit a "comprehensive plan to provide education and support through a continuum of options" for infants and toddlers. DEL contracted with our nonprofit partner Thrive by Five Washington to write the report, with assistance from a number of early learning experts around the state. 


In 2007, the Washington State Legislature provided DEL to pilot a child care consultation program that links child care providers with research-based resources to help them care for infants and young children with challenging behaviors. The pilot program was implemented in three counties — King, Thurston, and Yakima — each of which received support from a different consultant group. 


This plan describes the CCDF program by the state from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2013. 


DEL's biennial report to the Legislature and proposed longitudinal study plan, as required by RCW 43.215.080. 


A report on: DEL's quality rating and improvement system; kindergarten assessment processes; a child care consultation pilot program; and preliminary work completed on the proposed alignment of state and federal preschool programs. 


A report on information requested in the 2008 supplemental operating budget regarding the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network and Washington State Training and Registry System (STARS). 

Survey and Assessment Results


Washington State Market Rate Survey

In Washington, the state Department of Early Learning (DEL) has served as the lead agency for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) since October 2007. DEL must submit a plan every two years to the federal Child Care Bureau that outlines how the state will use CCDF dollars. As the CCDF lead agency, DEL is required to conduct a market rate survey within two years of the effective date of its current approved plan. Therefore, DEL conducts a biennial study of child care providers to determine rates charged for care, the costs associated with running a child care business and the availability of child care across the six Child Care Subsidy Regions of the state. 


Department of Early Learning Parent Needs Assessment

Results of a statewide survey showing what parents want and need to make early learning decisions for their young children.  The report reviews research and best practices, identifies systemic gaps and assets, and provides detailed recommendations for improving the knowledge and skills of professionals in the early learning field. 


A report from the Children's Administration (CA) regarding survey results around types of early learning and child care environments that foster parents and relative caregivers are or are not able to access. 


A report from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction that focuses on early learning programs in Washington schools. 


Child care licensing laws are primary mechanisms for reducing risks to children. In reviewing the literature and considering how licensing agencies can minimize risks to children in child care settings, this report largely focuses on risks to children from injuries. 

Studies and Analysis

The safeguarding of tens of thousands of children who participate in various child care settings is one of the more important undertakings of state government.


Early Learning Technical Workgroup Final Recommendations

November 1, 2011 preschool program recommendations from the Early Learning Technical Workgroup as required in Senate Bill 6759.


A brief status update summarizing the progress of the Professional Development Consortium (PD Consortium), as required in Substitute House Bill 1943. 


Previous child care studies have demonstrated very low average wages and high turnover rate of Washington child care staff. 


This report evaluates the impacts of HB3141 on the 12-month authorization on the stability of child care, program costs, and administrative savings; identifies reasons families leave the program; and makes recommendations for expanding the application of the 12-month authorization period to additional populations of families that receive WCCC.