(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced that child care providers in Washington, DC can apply for funding through the DC Child Care Stabilization Grant, which was created to support the child care sector through the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. The grant, administered by OSSE and established using federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, will provide approximately $38 million in financial relief to child development facilities to help cover business costs associated with the pandemic, stabilize operations, and preserve the supply of child care for children and families in the District.
“We know the important role child care plays not only in supporting the development of young learners, but in supporting the success of parents and families. We have been focused, even before the pandemic, on how we increase access to high-quality, affordable child care; these grants will help us keep building on that progress,” said Mayor Bowser. “This critical funding, on top of our local investments in child care and early childhood education, will allow the child care sector to accelerate its recovery and continue to increase the supply of child care available as more District residents return to in-person work.”
Over the last 18 months, the District has provided robust financial and business supports to child care providers to help them re-open and remain in business. As a result of these investments, more than 90% of the District’s nearly 500 licensed child development facilities have reopened and are serving families.
“Access to early care and education programs is critical for DC families, and I am proud to say that due to our investments, there are more licensed child care slots today than before the public health emergency,” said Acting State Superintendent of Education Christina Grant. “OSSE will continue to work with our partners to identify funding and ensure our child care providers have the resources and supports they need to thrive.”
Nearly all child development facilities licensed by OSSE are eligible to receive funding. To receive grant funds, providers must complete the application process established by the organization, the Washington Area Community Investment Fund's (WACIF), United Planning Organization (UPO), or Hurley & Associates, that will disburse their grant funds. Child development providers will receive funding based on a formula that considers their licensed capacity and the costs of serving children of different ages. Additional funding will be provided to child development facilities located in high-need communities. Funds may be used to cover expenses such as personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments, facility maintenance, and improvements and mental health supports for children and early educators.
“WACIF is committed to driving an equitable economic recovery across the region,” said WACIF Chief Executive Officer Harold B. Pettigrew, Jr. “In alignment with that commitment, our valued partnership with OSSE has already seen WACIF deploy nearly $14 million and support more than 4,600 local jobs in the District. We look forward to the next phase of this partnership, and continuing to support care for children, relief for the child care sector and opportunities for parents to support their families.”
Throughout the pandemic, Mayor Bowser has prioritized supporting the child care sector through the use of both local and federal relief funds. The DC Child Care Stabilization Grant is a substantial addition to previous investments by the Bowser Administration that include:
$15.7 million for the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund grant program, which delivered financial relief to nearly all licensed child care facilities in fall 2020 and summer and fall 2021;
$8.8 million for the DC Road to Recovery Fund, which funded grants to all eligible participants (including subsidy and non-subsidy child care providers) in the first round of funding in spring 2021, and is currently distributing a second round to qualifying subsidized child care providers; and
$400,000 in Access to Quality Emergency Grants distributed in summer 2021.
The District has also dedicated nearly $25 million in ARP funds to increase subsidy payment rates in FY22 and FY23 and provide scholarships and financial incentives for child care workers.
For more information on the DC Child Care Stabilization Grant, visit OSSE’s website.