By Sierra Wallace, Under 3 DC Communications Manager
At the start of this year, District of Columbia early educators and eligible child care employees began to receive free, high-quality, publicly-financed health insurance coverage, HealthCare4ChildCare, provided by DC Health Link This new health insurance is being provided as part of the Pay Equity Fund, a new, permanent, equity-based compensation funding source for the District’s early educators.
More than 61 early childhood education employers have enrolled their employees in the health care program since its late fall 2022 launch. And that number is only expected to grow.
At the Department of Behavioral Health’s Performance Oversight Hearing earlier this month, Under 3 DC member Jeff Credit of the Washington Association of Child Care Centers testified that 13 of his employees were able to successfully enroll in health care.
Mitizi Rodriguez, owner and director of Bellas Artes Child Creativity Center, and Homer Thomas, founder and owner of the Washington Academy Preschool, also testified about how life-saving this access to free health insurance has been for their staff allowing their employees to receive needed and highly anticipated aid. Rodriguez stated that 13 early educators in her Spanish immersion early learning program are now enrolled. Thomas stated that all of his employees are now enrolled in the health care program.
Testimony like this plays an important role in ensuring that our early childhood educators receive the compensation they deserve as they teach and care for our youngest children. As the DC Council begins to assess how the 2023 fiscal year budget is performing, It is important that teachers and providers continue to lend their voices to testimony and let the Council know how imperative it is to create actionable equity-based policy to aid in compensating our early educators.