MEDIA RELEASE: 2,676 CHILDREN ON ECEAP WAITLIST
Bellevue, WA// December 8, 2015// CONTACT: Katy Warren, 425.453.1227
2,676 CHILDREN ON ECEAP WAITLIST WITH NO EXPANSION SLATED FOR FALL 2016; ECEAP LEADERS TO MEET THIS WEEK
WSA URGES GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE TO FUND 1,000 MORE ECEAP CHILDREN IN SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
This week the Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP (WSA) will convene its top leaders in Tukwila to discuss the upcoming legislative session and talk to key early learning leaders. The group will call for expanding ECEAP by 1,000 children next fall in order to reduce the number of children on the waitlist and to take steps towards meeting the legislative entitlement scheduled to hit in 2020.
No expansion of ECEAP is scheduled to take place next fall despite the fact that there are 2,676 children on the active waitlist. Of those, 641 children are considered to be in the highest priority category by the Department of Early Learning (DEL), meaning that they are homeless, have been abused or neglected, are living in extreme poverty, or have other major risk factors. Additionally, DEL estimates that the total universe of 3 and 4 year old children who qualify for the program and would likely be interested in receiving services if offered tops more than 10,000.
Last year an evaluation of ECEAP was completed which showed that children that attended the program made impressive gains and these gains were sustained throughout elementary school. The study found that “children who attended ECEAP had significantly higher math and reading scores in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade compared to children who did not attend the program,” with effects twice as good as the average pre-k program nationwide.
Joel Ryan, Executive Director of WSA said the following:
“Unfortunately, more than 2,600 children are already lined up at ECEAP’s door and no one is answering their call for help. We have contacted our providers and they are ready to go. Over the next few years the state will need to address the very real facility needs across the state, but right now we have commitments from current providers to serve at least 1,000 additional children starting next fall. While we are delighted with the incredible achievements accomplished last year to improve early learning quality, we urge the Governor and legislature not to take a year off from funding the promised expansion of ECEAP. These kids can’t wait – once they’re behind, it’s too late. It’s irresponsible to let 1,000 children come unprepared for kindergarten when we know we can do something about it for a relatively small investment of tax dollars.”
Visit or Speak with A Local ECEAP Program or Family
If you are interested in talking with an ECEAP provider or meeting some of the families please contact us. You can call Katy Warren at (206)291-2021 or Joel Ryan at (253)486-9077 and we would be happy to connect you.