FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC – July 8, 2020 – The DC Council took critical first steps on Tuesday to move the District forward on its path to economic recovery. Restoring $5 million to the child care subsidy program cut by the Mayor, opening up $5 million in emergency relief funding to child development centers, and allocating $1.4 million of the $10 million requested to help the early childhood education sector adapt to new business practices as Covid-19 persists. Collectively, today’s funding commitments provide educators, parents, and businesses with some reassurance that the financial viability of the child care sector will be preserved but fails to meet the need to ensure the District does not lose up to 6,500 child care spots.
Advocates called attention this week to COVID-19’s devastating impact on the city’s child care industry during two rallies outside of the Wilson Buildingㅡa capstone to more than three months of advocacy through social media, budget hearings, virtual lobby visits, and more. Grassroots advocates noted that without full support for child care, providers and educators will struggle to keep their doors open and working parents would struggle to return to their jobs as the city continues to reopen.
“A full economic recovery in DC will be impossible without child care. Educators are reopening with costly, new requirements and limitations on class sizes without stimulus or other relief. Those not receiving subsidies have been hit much harder by the pandemic. Stabilization funding for the child care sector is essential,” according to Carrie Thornhill, president of DC Early Learning Collaborative.
“We need the Council to step up and do more to support child care providers and educators, most of whom are Black and Latinx. Our children deserve a safe and healthy space to grow and develop, and families who want to return to work need to have access to care. By failing to act, the Council is putting thousands of child care slots at risk, and that hurts employers, workers, families, and most of all, children,” said Ronald Jarrett. “If we don’t pay for it now, we will pay for it later when we see our economic and health divides worsen. That’s why we’re asking the Council to invest more in child care to ensure we have a Just Recovery that centers the needs of working families, especially Black and Latinx ones hit hardest by this crisis.”
Without full funding, DC could lose as many as 6,500 slotsㅡor 20 percentㅡof its child care programs.
“Saving child care ensures that families have a safe place for their children to grow and thrive while enabling parents to work, whether at their regular job site or from home,” stated Kathy Hollowell-Makle, president of DCAEYC.
As the Council debates how to raise revenue for priorities like education in a tight economic environment, we urge them to remember that the benefits of a high-quality early childhood education last a lifetime. Allowing this pandemic to create further educational disparities and barriers for our families is simply unacceptable. Instead, families’ needs deserve priority. We urge the Council and Mayor to work together to meet the full demands of the Under 3 DC Coalitionㅡ$10 million in emergency relief right now, and $10 million in next year’s budgetㅡthat have been directly informed by child care providers.
About Under 3 DC
Under 3 DC harnesses the voices and power of parents with young children, early educators, and community-based organizations to create transformative social change. We shine a spotlight on the need for more public investments to support families with infants and toddlers. Together, we can set the District of Columbia on a path to creating and sustaining a high-quality, equitable early childhood system.