The District of Columbia operates a federally-funded child care assistance program that helps eligible families pay for child care. The Child Care Subsidy Program offers families a wide range of child care options. The variety of schedules and types of programs enable families to choose the setting that best meets their needs. Providers must sign an agreement with the Division of Early Learning to participate in the Child Care Subsidy Program. The five types of Child Care Providers are described below.
- Level I Child Development Center-Based Provider: accepts children who are referred for subsidized care after eligibility determination and intake at the Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Care Services Division.
- Level II Child Development Center-Based Provider: conducts child care eligibility determination as well as intake on behalf of OSSE using OSSE eligibility requirements. Level II Center-Based Providers are located throughout the District.
- Child Development Home-Based Provider: accepts children who are referred for subsidized child care after eligibility determination and intake at the DHS.
- Relative Care Provider: parent or guardian selects the relative to provide care in the relative’s home. Eligibility determination and intake must be performed by the DHS.
- In-Home Care Provider: parent or guardian selects the provider to care for the child in the child’s home. Eligibility determination and intake must be performed by the DHS.
Note: Relative Care Providers and In-Home Care Providers are exempt from the licensing requirements and are referred to as “care-of-last–resort” according to the Day Care Policy Act of 1979, as amended. In order to utilize Relative or In-Home Care Providers, parents must demonstrate that they could not find care in licensed centers or child development homes to meet their schedule needs or the needs of their child. Relative Care and In-Home Care Providers must enter into agreement with the OSSE School Preparedness Unit to participate in the Child Care Subsidy Program after the family has been determined eligible to receive subsidized child care service by DHS. The agreement has specific health, safety and education requirements which these providers must follow.
Non-traditional services: In addition to the traditional services offered from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM Monday through Friday, the Child Care Subsidy Program assists eligible parents/guardians in paying for “nontraditional services”, which are available evenings, nights, and weekends at selected sites.
Interested in providing care for children receiving the Child Care Subsidy?
- Contact the Division of Early Learning to get information about becoming a Child Care Subsidy Provider. You must already be a licensed, District of Columbia Child Development Facility Provider to apply. Get information on becoming a Licensed Child Care Provider.
- If you are already a licensed Child Development Facility Provider and want to become a Child Care Subsidy Provider, you must first attend an orientation program. Registration information and the Subsidy Program Orientation schedule are available here. Link to Subsidy Child Care Orientation Schedule [PDF]
- Providers approved for participation in the Child Care Subsidy Program will be allowed to serve families receiving subsidy vouchers for up to 95% of your licensed capacity. You cannot be reimbursed for child care services provided until the Agreement is approved by the Division of Early Childhood Education in writing.
Resources for prospective and current Child Care Subsidy providers:
- Attendance Tracking System (ATS) Announcement
- Child Care Accreditation Organizations
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Council on Accreditation
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- National Association for Family Child Care
- Zero to Three
- DC Early Stages (Children 3 to 5 years with Special Needs)
- DC Early Intervention (Children birth to 3 years with Special Needs)
- Child and Adult Care Food Program