Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1451: Concerning the entitlement date and definition for the early childhood education and assistance program

The bill also changes the current early  childhood education and assistance program statute related to the entitlement such that the program shall be implemented in phases and fully implemented in the 2026-27 school year, instead of the 2022-23 school year. By the 2026-27 school year, any eligible child shall be entitled to be enrolled in the program. Entitlement is voluntary enrollment in a full day program. 

Additionally, by September 1, 2022, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families must submit a report to the governor and appropriate committees of the legislature, pursuant to RCW 43.01.036. The report must include an implementation plan to meet the early childhood education and assistance program entitlement under RCW 43.216.556. The implementation plan shall include but are not limited to the following:

(a) Details for how all eligible children as defined in RCW 11 43.216.505 and entitled to the program under RCW 43.216.510 and 43.216.556 will access a full day program by the 2026-27 school year; 

(b) A description of how the early childhood education and assistance program, and transitional kindergarten funding streams, may be braided to create high-quality integrated preschool classrooms, including combinations of other existing programs funded by federal or state dollars including, but not limited to:

 (A) The working connections child care subsidy;

 (B) Head start;

 (C) Developmental preschool programs;

 (D) Early childhood intervention and prevention services. 

Furthermore, the implementation plan must describe how high-quality, inclusive preschool programs can be delivered in a variety of public or private settings including, but not limited to:

 (A) School districts;

(B) Educational service districts

 (C) Community and technical colleges; (D) Local governments;

(E) Nonprofit organizations;

(F) Agencies as defined in RCW 43.216.010.

HB1451 establishes a tool kit for potential preschool program operators to implement a preschool program as outlined. The tool kit must be made available on the Department of Children, Youth, and Families’ public website, in a consumer-friendly format and translated to support dual-language communities.