Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser toured the early learning program at National Children’s Center in Ward 8 to spotlight her Administration’s investments to expand the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Quality Improvement Network (QIN), which the Mayor launched in 2015 during her first 100 days in office. Next week, Mayor Bowser will host the District’s second annual National Maternal and Infant Health Summit on September 10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“Since launching the Quality Improvement Network, we’ve been able to increase access to and improve the quality of early care and education in the District, particularly for many of our most vulnerable families,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’re going to continue building out this network, which not only connects our families with comprehensive health services, but also housing, education opportunities, and workforce development programs.”
Since Fiscal Year 2015, Mayor Bowser has created 1,331 new child care seats and expanded comprehensive and continuous Early Head Start standard services to more than 600 children in licensed child care facilities throughout Washington, DC.
“Research shows that high-quality infant and toddler care helps put children on a pathway to success in kindergarten and beyond,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang, whose agency, OSSE oversees 469 licensed child development facilities throughout the District. “Over the past four years, the QIN has been critical in supporting some of the District’s most vulnerable families by building a citywide service delivery system for high-quality early care and education, and importantly, also partnering with families themselves and recognizing the critical leadership role that they play as their children’s first and most important teacher.”
The QIN aims to build capacity, increase access and enhance the quality of care for infants and toddlers in DC through partnerships with DC Health, Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Health Care Finance, Department of Human Services and Child and Family Services Agency to ensure effective service coordination and support for the children and families enrolled in the QIN. So far this year, the QIN expanded services at three QIN sites – House of Ruth, National Children’s Center and Kids are People Too – that serve 118 vulnerable infants and toddlers in Wards 7 and 8. Beginning early next year, two additional facilities will be added to the QIN, serving an additional 50 infants and toddlers in Wards 7 and 8.
Earlier this year, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) received a $1.7 million federal grant from the Office of Head Start that was combined with local funds to expand and enhance the QIN. OSSE has funded the QIN project by layering federal EHS-CCP Expansion funding, local child care subsidy funds and private-sector funding. In addition, the grant has expanded mental health consultation and enhanced services at these three QIN sites through a public-private partnership with Bainum Family Foundation.
In January, Mayor Bowser announced that the District received a $10.6 million federal Preschool Development Grant, Birth to Five Grant (PDG B-5). The funding will be used to improve the quality of early childhood programs and services and to build systems that equip families with clear and consistent information. The funding will also be used to equip more parents and families with consistent information on existing services, expand mental health services and improve the quality of early childhood programs through the purchase of research-based materials for facilities and schools.