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Mayor Bowser and OSSE Launch $10 Million Grant Program to Improve Access to Affordable Child Care

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) launched the second round of the Access to Quality Child Care Grant, a $10 million grant program to improve the supply and quality of child care services in the District. The program, administered by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), provides grants to child development facilities to expand, open and improve new and existing child development facilities.

“We know that a high quality child care program can make a lasting difference in a child and family’s life. We also know the critical role that child care will play in our community’s recovery and comeback,” said Mayor Bowser. “These investments in early learning, whether they are in child care or Pre-K, are investments in the future of our city and families.”

Child development facilities licensed by OSSE and serving families may apply to open a new facility or expand their current location. Organizations or individuals who do not currently operate a facility licensed by OSSE, but are interested in opening a facility in the District of Columbia, may also apply. Funding is also available to support planning costs associated with preparing to create or expand a facility.

To be eligible for funding, a child development facility operator must have an eligible new facility or expansion project ready to move forward within the next six months. Interested Access to Quality Child Care Grant applicants must first complete and submit an intake form to LIIF sharing information about their program and expansion or new facility development plans. LIIF will review intake forms to determine the type of sub-grant that applies to the child development facility. Applicants that demonstrate readiness to move forward will be invited to submit a formal application as long as funds remain available. Applicants that serve low-income families, those participating in the District’s child care subsidy program, children with disabilities, and linguistically and culturally diverse families will be prioritized for funding.

This fall, LIIF will award sub-grants to child development facility operators. LIIF will support sub-grantees to build business capacity and create high-quality, developmentally appropriate learning environments for infants and toddlers. LIIF will provide technical assistance to any child development facility operator in the District with questions about expanding, renovating or establishing a new child development facility, whether or not they apply for or receive a grant.

“One of the best ways we can strengthen and stabilize the District’s child care sector is by providing direct support to child development facilities,” said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. “Over the past two years, the District has provided robust financial relief to child development facilities. And, unlike many other states, we have seen our child care supply grow during this time. We will continue on this trajectory with programs like Access to Quality Child Care.”

In Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), the District implemented a number of relief programs to stabilize the child care sector, including:

  • The DC Child Care Stabilization Grant, a $38 million program funded through federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, is available to nearly every licensed child development facility in the District; and
  • The Back to Work Child Care Grant, a $32 million grant program to help DC licensed child care facilities, particularly those in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19, resume and maintain full operations as they recover from the pandemic and enable families to find the child care they need to return to work; and
  • Increased subsidy payment rates for child development facilities participating in the District’s child care subsidy program to reflect the increased costs to deliver child care and maintain a supply of affordable care for low-income families during the pandemic recovery.

During the first administration of the Access to Quality Child Care Grant between FY18-20, also administered by LIIF, 47 child development programs received grants, supporting the creation of 1,244 infant and toddler slots in the District.

“LIIF is thrilled to continue supporting child development facilities in the District to grow their operations. The second round of the Access the Quality Child Care Grant will allow even more DC families, especially those with young children, to access high-quality care options that meet their needs,” said Laura Jackman, Deputy director of Early Care and Education at LIIF.

More information on the Access to Quality Child Care Grant program, including applications for child care providers, can be found on OSSE and LIIF’s websites.