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.

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. We’re finding success in combating systemic education barriers when we partner with, and cede power to, the communities we aim to serve. 

Recently, we’ve been exploring a new funding model with seven ParentChild+ partner providers that form the Emerging Alliance of Communities of Color (EACC), a group of providers serving primarily Black, immigrant, refugee and Muslim families.

This new funding approach, referred to as participatory grantmaking, is one where the funder—United Way of King County, in this case—cedes funding decision-making power and trusts that the community knows best how to address challenges they’re facing. With ParentChild+, last year (2019) the EACC 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 met our goal of supporting over 1,200 families. 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


participants are 30 percentage points more likely to graduate


average completion of the 2-year program


partner providers

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.


  • Loeb Family Charitable Foundations

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