Washington State Origin Story

Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce) works with state and local partners to strengthen early learning systems in Washington state and to provide every child with quality early learning and care.

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Start Early Washington launched on February 1, 2020 as a state office of Start Early, building on deep relationships and expertise in the field of early learning in Washington State. Start Early Washington focuses on informing systems, driving innovation, supporting the workforce, and advocating for equitable prenatal-to-five learning experiences for children and families. As champions for children and families, we work to ensure families have access to services that promote strong, life-long outcomes for Washington state’s youngest residents.

Our Approach

Start Early Washington leverages the expertise Start Early has built over its 40-year history as a leader in early childhood program and policy work. Combined with our on-the-ground knowledge of Washington state’s early childhood systems, Start Early Washington is committed to:

  • Building systems that work for children and families: Through a public-private partnership, we work closely with state and local partners — including the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) — to provide statewide research and program support in order to enact policies and build a strong prenatal-to-five system.
  • Ensuring quality early learning experiences: We provide comprehensive implementation supports at all stages of program design, implementation, and growth. We drive learning and innovation by working closely with community and state partners to elevate best practices and local expertise.
  • Supporting a strong early childhood workforce: Partnering with public and private funders, we offer professional development, technical assistance and training for home visitors and early childhood professionals across the state to ensure families receive high-quality services.
  • Advocating for Washington state’s children and families: Our advocacy work seeks to increase the visibility and commitment to early learning in the state. We partner with peer organizations, state leaders and early learning champions to secure robust, equitable and sustainable state and local policies that put children and families first, especially those living in communities that are under-resourced.