FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Without Local Investment, the District Can’t Build a Sustainable High-Quality Child Care System
WASHINGTON, DC—Mayor Bowser’s 2022 budget proposal holds harmless current child care funding but makes no new investments toward a high-quality and equitable system. Using federal relief provided by the Biden Administration, the Mayor’s FY22 budget allocates $68 million to child care to stabilize the sector hit hard by the pandemic. Under 3 DC Director Ruqiyyah Anbar-Shaheen is releasing the following statement in reaction to the Mayor’s budget proposal:
”We are appreciative to the Biden Administration for recognizing the need for child care stabilization after the pandemic hit the sector so hard. But, the Bowser Administration’s failure to make a local, long-term investment in child care is a missed opportunity to lay the groundwork for a high-quality, equitable and sustainable early education system. This lack of local support is a decision that will hurt our economy, young children and their families and will significantly harm women.
“The pandemic revealed deep, long-standing fissures in early education and care that time-limited grant and pilot programs will not fix. Families and programs need bold, visionary investment in a system that compensates child care teachers – primarily Black and brown women – for the value and quality of their work. Early educators are paid 67 cents for every dollar public school educators earn. While federal funds can provide much-needed short-term relief, it’s time for District leaders to right this wrong and begin making long-term local investments in equal and fair compensation.
“Early educators are the backbone of our child care system. They and our children deserve better than the budget we have before us. Our final FY 2022 budget must reflect this truth: if we want a high-quality, accessible, and affordable child care system, the time to pay early educators a living wage on par with other educators is now. I hope DC Council will do what it takes to build the budget our littlest residents, their families, and their educators need.”
About Under 3 DC
Under 3 DC harnesses the voices and power of the District’s parents with young children, early educators, and community-based organizations to shine a spotlight on the need for more public investments in early education and health programs for 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.