(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced new investments in her Fiscal Year 2024 Fair Shot Budget to expand access to affordable high-quality child care for DC families by raising the eligibility for the child care subsidy from 250% to 300% of the federal poverty line. This investment will allow families of an estimated 2,200 children to become newly eligible for the child care subsidy.
“We know that high-quality child care is critical for a child’s long-term development, it helps us keep and attract families in DC, and it creates more opportunity for parents. Making child care affordable is one of the most important ways we make DC affordable for families,” said Mayor Bowser. “DC has become a national leader in early childhood education because we’ve been very intentional about creating more child care seats, hiring incredible staff and educators, and helping families in all eight wards connect to child care – these investments continue that work.”
By raising the eligibility for the child care subsidy from 250% to 300% of the federal poverty line, the eligibility cap for a family of three in DC will raise from $62,150 to $74,580 and from $75,000 to $90,000 for a family of four.
Mayor Bowser’s FY24 budget also includes $6.8 million in the Special Education Enhancement Fund to establish new dedicated child care slots, out-of-school time slots, and a referral system for infants and toddlers with disabilities. This additional investment will create high-quality child care, tailored to individual needs, for infants and toddlers, pre-K students, and school-aged students. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will implement a grant program, on a competitive basis, to award grants to licensed child development facilities, including those that operate before/afterschool programs, that serve children with disabilities and developmental delays. OSSE will also establish a referral system, through the District’s child care resource and referral agency, DC Child Care Connections, to connect families of children with disabilities with dedicated slots and ensure that new seats are available for children who most need them.
“Every DC family should benefit from the excellent early learning programs the District has to offer, and these investments offer our families more options and more flexibilities,” said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. “Expanding access to high-quality early learning prepares our children for success in life, and it also helps our community thrive.”
Today’s event took place at Easterseals Child Development Center, a child development facility in Ward 1 that has served children and families in Washington, DC for nearly three decades. Easterseals is a grant recipient of the FY22 DC Child Care Subsidy Program and Access to Quality Child Care Grant and is using $1.6 million in grants to help open a new child development facility located in Ward 5 at 1151 Bladensburg Road NE. The new facility is expected to create 80 new child care slots and 30 jobs, and will serve families who are low-income, linguistically diverse and experiencing homelessness. About 25% of the children the facility will serve are expected to have special needs.
“Easterseals is thrilled to provide early education and care to more young children and families in DC at our new Early Head Start center that will open soon in Ward 5,” said Jon Horowitch, President and CEO of Easterseals DC MD VA. “As we work to create a hopeful, inclusive community where all people realize their potential and live meaningful lives, we are grateful for the partnership and the investments from the District that enable Easterseals to ensure our youngest learners are receiving the high-quality, inclusive education and care they need. We’re also proud that the center will allow parents to work knowing that their children are safe and being prepared for a lifetime of success.”
Visit OSSE's website to learn more about the Access to Quality Child Care Grant, the DC Child Care Stabilization Targeted Grant, the Back-to-Work Child Care Grant, and the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund.
To learn more about Mayor Bowser’s FY24 Budget, visit budget.dc.gov.