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About Early Learning

The mission of the Division of Early Learning (DEL) is to provide leadership and coordination to ensure that all District of Columbia children, from birth to kindergarten entrance, have access to high quality early childhood development programs and are well prepared for school. The division is composed of five units:

Operations and Grants Management Unit

This unit provides leadership, management and oversight for all budget development, federal fiscal reporting and grant development for DEL.  It tracks and proactively assures efficient, coordinated contracting, including timely and accurate child care provider payments to ensure program integrity in the child care subsidy program. View Open Funding Opportunities

Policy, Planning & Research Unit

This unit provides leadership for the development and implementation of the policy, planning, evaluation and research functions of DEL. Core duties include the development of all plans, including the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Office of Special Education and Planning (OSEP), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CC) and Head Start State Collaboration (HSSCO).  Also, the Policy, Planning Research Unit develops and implements DEL’s communications and outreach strategy, and develops partnerships for community engagement.

Licensing and Compliance Unit

The Licensing and Compliance Unit is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring and compliance of the District’s child care licensing system. It provides protocol development for inter-rater reliability of licensing staff; develops regulatory manuals and communications; models policies; tracks performance management; and collects data to drive decision making and inform quality improvement. Learn More.

Quality Initiatives Unit

This unit leads the development and management of all DEL quality programs, including subsidized child care; pre-Kindergarten; the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS); the Quality Improvement Network; and Professional Development. It supports programs aimed at helping families support their child’s learning and development, including making informed choices about available early childhood services that best meet their needs.

Early Intervention Unit (Strong Start)

This unit manages the development and implementation of Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Strong Start is the District’s Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. It develops and implements effective processes for identifying children who may have developmental delays and disabilities, evaluating them for participation in the program, and providing effective, inclusive opportunities through an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Learn More.

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