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The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) was created in 1985 and is a statewide program that provides preschool education and wraparound services to low-income children and their families. Most children are eligible for ECEAP services if they are three or four years old and live in households with income less than or equal to 110% of the federal poverty level.
The 2019 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the short and long-term effects of ECEAP. This follow-up includes long-term outcome results for the previously studied historical cohort group (children born between 1996-2004), as well as more short-term outcomes for the historical cohort and a more recent cohort group (children born between 2004-2014). The 2019 legislation also directed WSIPP to examine ECEAP’s dosage models.
We found that the relationship between ECEAP participation and outcomes is strongest immediately after ECEAP participation and (generally) fades over time. In particular, we find that ECEAP participants are more likely to be kindergarten-ready and less likely to participate in special education in early school years. We find no clear evidence that ECEAP participants had better outcomes than non-participants on later outcomes, including high school graduation.