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Mayor Bowser Invests $184 Million in Expanding Access to High-Quality Child Care to Give More Children and Families a #FairShot

Thursday, June 3, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser visited Stevens Early Learning Center (ELC) to highlight investments in her Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal, totaling more than $184 million, that will expand access to affordable, quality childcare and strengthen early childhood education programming across the District.

“Equity is the guiding principle in the Fair Shot Budget, and you will see that reflected in all of our investments, including our child care investments,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this budget, we are ensuring our families, children, and educators have what they need to recover from a difficult year, and that includes more access to high-quality child care.”

The Mayor’s FY22 budget proposal would deliver:

  • A pilot to review incentives for 2,000 childcare workers to improve childcare worker retention in our DC child care provider facilities
  • Higher subsidy payments for 270 child care centers
  • Stabilization grants for all 425 licensed child care centers to help mitigate the losses experienced due to the public health emergency
  • Back-to-work Child Care grants for 90 licensed childcare centers to preserve the number of available seats for DC families
  • A second round of Access-to-Quality grants for $10M across FY22-23 to increase the number of quality and high-quality seats in DC—improving affordability, supply, and quality
  • $18.5M across FY23-24 to pilot quality pay bonus payments to providers who pay wages to infant-toddler workers commensurate with credentials

“The evidence could not be more clear: the solid foundation students receive in high quality childcare and early education programs puts them on a path to success for the rest of their school and for the rest of life,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn. “We are grateful for the Mayor’s commitment to supporting our childcare sector and thank all the centers that provided vital care to our families throughout the pandemic.”

Throughout the pandemic, Mayor Bowser has prioritized supporting the child care sector, providing nearly $25 million in direct financial assistance to District child care providers to help them stay in business during the pandemic.

  • $15.7 million for the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund grant program to deliver financial relief to nearly all licensed child care facilities;
  • $8.8 million for the DC Road to Recovery Fund which funded grants to all eligible participants (including subsidy and non-subsidy child care providers) in the first round of funding
  • $400,000 in Access to Quality Emergency Grants Combined, these programs have resulted in

Stevens Early Learning Center, which opened is August 2020, is DC Public Schools’ (DCPS) first standalone early learning center with DCPS PK3 and PK4 classrooms and a 6 weeks-3-years-old program offered in partnership with CentroNia, a community-based organization. Through this partnership, Stevens offers a unique opportunity to educate DC’s earliest learners.

Stevens ELC currently has four classrooms open for in-person learning this term. For in-person learning, students participate in whole group, small group and individual learning experiences, with different themed centers, outdoor play, story time, breakfast/lunch/snack and rest time. For both virtual-only and in-person classes, Stevens ELC students participate in specials classes like physical education, music, library, and art class.

CentroNía provides high-quality, affordable early childhood education programs to children and families across the District. The operation at Stevens Early Learning Center has four classrooms for children ages 6 weeks-3 years. This includes one classroom for infants and three classrooms for toddlers.