Early Childhood and Assistance Program

  • The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP, pronounced "e-cap") provides high-quality comprehensive services that focus on the whole child and the family.  Founded in 1985, ECEAP is Washington State's funded preschool program through the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).  The program serves three and four-year-old children from income-eligible families and/or those with developmental or environmental risk factors that could interfere with school success.  All services are free to enrolled families and are intended to be a wrap-around service that supports family well-being.

    Our ECEAP services include:

    Preschool Education & Nutrition:

    Children who attend preschool learn to manage their feelings, get along with others, and follow classroom procedures. Through what can look like play, children build the beginning skills for reading, math and science.  Each class is served a meal and a snack to help keep their brains and bodies working at their best.

    Health Services Coordination:

    Healthy children are able to learn and thrive in school.  It is important to have an established doctor and dentist for regular check-ups.  A requirement of ECEAP participation is confirmed well-child and dental exams within 90 days of the start of preschool. 

    Family Support Services:

    Each family is partnered with a Family Support Specialist while enrolled in ECEAP.   They work closely with parents to support their children’s health, education, and family engagement.  By using Mobility Mentoring ® and a tool called the Bridge to Child and Family Self-Reliance, family dreams, goals, and aspirations are supported, encouraged, and celebrated.

    Outcomes for children who attend preschool through ECEAP when compared to children who do not attend preschool are:

    • Healthier when they start kindergarten.
    • More likely to graduate from high school and go on to further education.
    • More likely to be employed and to earn a better wage as an adult.
    • Less likely to be in special education or repeat a grade in school.
    • Less likely to become pregnant as a teen or become involved in a crime.

    Research shows high-quality programs, like ECEAP, reduce the need for remedial services in schools, social services, and criminal justice by engaging and empowering families.