Early Education >> Percent Served by Head Start / ECEAP

Funding for Head Start and ECEAP covers only a fraction of eligible children in King County.

Education is widely regarded as the great leveler, an “intervention” that pays off in higher wages and better health. But we know now that timing is crucial. Providing quality education before age 5 creates a powerful domino effect, yielding sustained benefits to individuals and society at large. 

The quality, cost, and availability of child care can vary widely across communities. The burdens of poor quality and limited choice often fall on poor families.  Public funding of early childhood education tries to address these gaps, but falls short of serving all eligible children

  • In 2011, an estimated 26% of eligible children in King County were served by the federal Head Start program and Washington State’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). 
  • For Early Head Start, which focuses on low-income families with infants and toddlers, only about 1% of eligible children were served. Although almost 21,000 King County children were eligible for Early Head Start, a mere 298 slots were available (data not shown).