Helping children and families in King County prepare for kindergarten—and long-term learning success.

Support this program

Nearly two out of three low-income kids in King County are behind their peers when they start kindergarten.

The years before kindergarten are an incredibly crucial period of learning, yet nearly two out of three low-income kids in King County are behind their peers when they start kindergarten. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this inequity, and the preparation gap can have enormous impacts on long-term learning. 

The ParentChild+ program closes the kindergarten preparation gap by supporting parents during the crucial early years of their kids’ development. Families have twice-weekly visits with trained coaches, known as home visitors, of the same language and cultural background. ParentChild+ graduates have 30% higher high school graduation rates than their peers.

How It Works

When parents become their children’s first and best teachers, kids start school on a path to success.

Here’s how the ParentChild+ program works:

Two adults wear traditional Muslim head coverings sit next to each other. They both have a young child sitting in their laps. One child is also wearing a head covering and smiles while she reaches out to touch the graduation cap worn by the other child.

1. Families with 2- and 3-year olds are matched with trained coaches, known as home visitors, of the same language and cultural background.

A young child and and adult both sit and have their left hands raised while smiling and looking into a laptop monitor during an online learning session.

2. Home visitors meet with families two times a week. During the pandemic, this shifted to virtual visits.

A young child writes on a chalkboard.

3. Home visitors bring a book or toy each week, model positive interaction, and teach parents how to work with and advocate for their children.

Two young children wear green graduation gowns and smile at the camera.

4. Children leave the ParentChild+ two year program more prepared for kindergarten.

A New Approach to Funding Programs

Communities know best what issues they face and how to address them. When we partner with, and cede power to, the communities we aim to serve, we’re finding success in combating barriers. The community-based funding approach is both innovative and proven—and creates new approaches by addressing historic inequities. This is how the new model works:

blue icon depicting bar graph with dollar symbols above each bar.

Raising Funds


Raising Funds

United Way of King County raises funds through individual donors, corporate sponsors, government agencies, grants, and other contributors.

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Community-led Solutions


Community-led Solutions

We partner, work with, and cede power to communities to explore new, equitable ways of funding programs and supporting them.

Icon with upper torso and heads of three people. a speech bubble appears above the person in the center who is positioned in front of the other two people.

Community-led Distribution


Community-led Distribution

Participatory grantmaking lets the community decide how to allocate and distribute funds to address challenges they’re facing.

icon of 5 people sit at a round table facing each other, a dollar symbol is placed in the center of the table

Changing Power Dynamics


Changing Power Dynamics

The approach is an intentional way of combating potential colonialist, white supremacy-rooted elements of philanthropy and changing power dynamics between the organizations who distribute funds and those who receive them.


Through ParentChild+, low-income immigrant/refugee moms and dads get parenting support from a coach who speaks their language and knows their culture.

In 2019, seven ParentChild+ partner providers came together to form the Emerging Alliance of Communities of Color (EACC)—a group of providers serving primarily Black, immigrant, refugee and Muslim families. When the EACC received funding, they decided how to allocate and distribute funds for their early education work.

We’re excited about these initial efforts and are committed to continue to explore new, equitable ways of funding programs and supporting community partners.

Success to Date

Last fiscal year, despite the pandemic, we celebrated 10,700 families completing the in-home model since scaling up the program. The deep and meaningful relationships that home visitors had with the families were critical in the successful, quick pivot to doing remote work during the pandemic.


families supported since scaling up program


participants are 30 percentage points more likely to graduate


average completion of the 2-year program


partner providers


children and their families graduated last year

Our Goal

With your support, we can make the ParentChild+ program available to even more underserved families in King County. Our goal is to double the percentage of kids in our community who are ready for kindergarten, from 40% to 80%.

Donor Spotlight

Anand Naik stands outside with arms crossed while looking at the camera and smiling. He wears glasses, and a blue shirt with a firework pattern.

“As a father, I know that the early years are a crucial learning time for families and children. Having support that’s of the same language and cultural background makes such a huge difference, too.” –Anand Naik, Senior Software Engineer and United Way ParentChild+ donor

ParentChild+ Honor Roll

With support from these generous donors, we are helping young kids become ready for school.

$1 Million+

  • City of Seattle
  • King County Public Health Department


  • Loeb Family Charitable Foundations


  • PNC Foundation

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