Mayor Bowser recently highlighted the childcare investments in her recently released Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget during a visit to the Bright Beginnings child development center. The Mayor was at Bright Beginnings to kick off the Month of the Young Child by reading to classrooms of young children, ages six weeks to four years.
“By investing in child care, we are investing in the future of our families,” said Mayor Bowser. “These investments are one more way we can ensure that as the District grows, we continue to be a city where residents of all backgrounds and at all stages of life have a fair shot.”
Mayor Bowser’s FY19 budget includes $12.5 million toward making early child care more affordable for all District residents. The $12.5 million investment includes $2.5 million to create a refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per child for families enrolled in any licensed DC child care facility and not receiving a child care subsidy and $10 million to increase District payments to local child care providers to ensure they stay open and can create new child care slots for infants and toddlers.
Over the past year, the Bowser Administration has made critical progress in supporting Washington, DC’s youngest learners by investing in child care. In fiscal year 2018, Mayor Bowser invested $11 million to create nearly 1,000 infant and toddler seats over the next three years. The Mayor’s plan included identifying three sites in District-owned buildings, awarding $9 million in grants to providers seeking to expand or open new locations, streamlining and improving the child care licensure process, and supporting 300 DC residents in gaining certification or advanced early education credentials. In February 2018, the Mayor announced that the three sites had been identified and that the Low Income Investment Fund, a community development financial institution that will develop and administer a grant fund to child care providers, will provide a $1 to $1 match in capital loans to the District’s $9 million investment.
In May 2017, Mayor Bowser launched Thrive By Five, a citywide effort to connect more DC families to a wide range of resources that support maternal and child health, behavioral health, and early education. In the fall of 2017, the Mayor launched MyChildCareDC.org, a one-stop online resource that helps families find and compare child care options in Washington, DC. The Mayor also announced increased supports for early childhood educators, including an additional investment in the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) program that provides $1.2 million in scholarships for early childhood center teachers, family providers, and directors to work towards earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field. Mayor Bowser’s investment also expands the First Step Child Development Associate (CDA) program, which will enable 150 high school students to earn their CDA while earning their high school diploma.
Bright Beginnings, Inc. is a nonprofit that operates child and family development program for children and families experiencing homelessness who live in crisis shelters or transitional housing in Washington, DC. The center is an Early Head Start and Head Start program that offers a free, full-day and year-round developmentally appropriate early childhood education for children ages six weeks to five years old.
This year, 83 child development facilities volunteered to participate in Read Across DC, an event focused on literacy for early learners. The Month of the Young Child (MOYC) happens yearly throughout April and is an extension of the annual celebration of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC), sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). WOYC is a time to honor early learning, young children, and their teachers and families.
The Mayor was joined at today’s event by Interim Deputy Mayor for Education Ahnna Smith, State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang, and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Hyesook Chung.