Washington Opportunity Pathways Account

Dedicated Funding Streams & Financing

  • Revenue


In 2010, the Washington State Legislature created the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, ensuring that lottery revenue would support education, from early childhood through college. One part of the account funds the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP); ECEAP provides programming for children ages 0-5 whose parents meet eligibility requirements. In fiscal year 2022, the lottery contributed $40 million to the ECEAP program.

Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families. (n.d.). ECEAP & Head Start.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings

Stable, robust funding is essential to expanding and improving early education. Unlike K-12 education, early education has historically been supported through a fragmented – and largely insufficient – set of federal, state, and local funds. Research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality approach to early education across the mixed-delivery system – and for better financial and professional supports for the educators who serve children and families each day; creating dedicated funding streams can therefore help states and cities address these needs and achieve these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.


Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Washington

Context matters. Visit the Washington profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Washington Profile Here
  • The state population is 7,785,786
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 62%
  • The rural percentage is 16.6%