(Washington, DC) – Mayor Bowser kicked off Education Week 2018 by announcing two key developments in her Administration’s commitment to create approximately 1,000 new infant and toddler child care seats to meet the needs of growing families in Washington, DC. In addition to identifying space in three District-owned buildings that will be leased to private child care providers to provide affordable, high-quality care, the Mayor also announced that the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) will administer the grants to child care providers and provide a $1 to $1 match in capital loans to the District’s $9 million investment. LIIF’s matching funds will help create an estimated 100-200 additional child care seats.
“With our most recent budget, we set big goals to support our families and young children, and today, we are one step closer to creating more than 1,000 new infant and toddler seats across our city,” said Mayor Bowser. “As the District continues to grow, we are committed to supporting our families and ensuring our youngest residents have access to the opportunities they need to learn, grow, play, and thrive.”
The three District-owned buildings include:
- Deanwood Recreation Center (Ward 7), which includes access to approximately 3,000 square feet of space that with four classrooms and an outdoor play area;
- Building 41 at The University of the District of Columbia Flagship Campus (Ward 3), which includes 4,780 square feet of space with several classrooms and an outdoor play space; and
- Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School (Ward 2), which is currently undergoing renovations and will reopen as an expansion of School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens and include approximately 5,000 square feet of child care space.
- The Department of General Services (DGS) and the University of the District of Columbia have released a solicitation for space to open new child care centers in the three District-owned buildings.
This solicitation and grant announcements deliver on Mayor Bowser’s commitment to increase access to high-quality child care in Washington, DC. The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget invested $11 million to create nearly 1,000 infant and toddler seats over the next three years. The Mayor’s plan included identifying the 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 over the next three years.
Of the Mayor’s $11 million investment, $9 million will be awarded through grants to child care providers to expand or establish new child development facilities serving infants and toddlers through the Access to Quality Child Care Expansion Grant. LIIF will develop and administer a grant fund, totaling at least 90 percent of the award, as well as provide technical assistance to sub-grantees and to other new or existing child development facilities seeking to launch or expand. LIIF is a community development financial institution that has invested more than $2 billion in capital to high impact community development projects, including $133 million in Washington, DC.
“Across Washington, DC, we see a growing demand not only for pre-K-12 seats, but also for infant and toddler care,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles. “We know every day counts as our young people grow and develop, and we are committed to providing space in our District-owned buildings for providers to offer our families high-quality, affordable, and accessible child care.”
Over the past year, the Bowser Administration has made critical progress in supporting Washington, DC’s youngest learners. Mayor Bowser launched My Child Care DC, 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 in earning their CDA before graduation at the same time they earn their high school diploma. And, in May 2017, the Administration 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.
The Mayor was joined at the announcement by Deputy Mayor Niles and State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang. DGS will host a pre-application conference and site visits on February 16, 2018.