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July 2, 2012

Department of Early Learning starts statewide roll-out of Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system

The Washington Department of Early Learning (DEL) today launched the statewide roll-out of Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). Early Achievers is Washington’s voluntary program for helping licensed child care providers and other early learning programs offer high-quality care and provide children with best possible start in life.

Early Achievers offers child care providers and their employees access to coaching, professional development opportunities and other resources that support high-quality child care at no cost to providers or families.

Early Achievers connects parents and families to child care and early learning programs through an easy-to-understand rating system, available on DEL’s website in 2013.

"High-quality early learning helps children enter kindergarten ready to succeed and the benefits last well beyond the first few years of school," said DEL Director Bette Hyde. "Early Achievers will benefit Washington children, families and child care professionals for years to come."

The first phase of the statewide roll-out begins today in 23 counties to roughly 66 percent (more than 4,300 out of about 6,300) of licensed and certified child care programs in the state:

  • King
  • Pierce
  • Kitsap
  • Jefferson
  • Clallam
  • Clark
  • Skamania
  • Cowlitz
  • Klickitat
  • Wahkiakum
  • Adams
  • Yakima
  • Kittitas
  • Grant
  • Spokane
  • Stevens
  • Pend Oreille
  • Whitman
  • Garfield
  • Walla Walla
  • Columbia
  • Asotin
  • Lincoln

Licensed child care providers in the remaining counties will join Early Achievers in two phases. Phase 2, in January 2012, will make Early Achievers available to approximately 850 programs in seven counties. Phase 3, in July 2013, will make Early Achievers available to approximately 1,300 programs in the remaining nine counties. Read more about the statewide roll-out plan.

The statewide roll-out is being conducted in partnership with Child Care Aware Washington and the University of Washington, Washington’s community colleges and four-year universities, and Thrive by Five Washington.

DEL and Thrive by Five Washington completed a two-year pilot of Washington’s QRIS in five pilot communities. In 2011, DEL selected 60 early adopters—licensed and/or certified child care providers and early learning professionals who served as beta testers for the program.

On the web:

Early Achievers fast facts

Early Achievers frequently asked questions

Early Achievers brochure for parents and families

Early Achievers brochure for early learning professionals

Early Achievers is 100 percent supported by the 2011 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge federal grant and the federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) ($21 million for fiscal year 2013).

Media contact:

Kara Klotz
360.725.4392 (office)
360.515.8699 (cell)