Mayor Bowser Announces $10 Million Investment to Give More DC Families a #FairShot in Accessing Affordable Child Care
Washington, DC (STL.News) Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off the second round of the Access to Quality Child Care Grant program by announcing that the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) has been selected to administer the $10 million grant program. The Access to Quality Child Care Grant program improves the supply and quality of child care services in the District by providing grants to child development facilities over two years in an effort to expand, open, and improve new and existing child development facilities.
“When we deliver more high-quality child care seats, we give more kids and families the fair shot they deserve,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that the past two years have created unique needs for families as well as child care facilities. We are also incredibly grateful for the commitment of our child care providers throughout this pandemic. Especially as families seek to get back to more sustainable schedules, we will continue to make the creation of accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care seats a priority.”
Between fiscal years 2018-2020, LIIF administered the first round of the Access to Quality Child Care Grant. The $9 million program, which sought to increase supply of quality infant and toddler slots in the District by 1,000, provided 47 grants to child development programs. By the end of the grant period, Access to Quality supported creation of 1,244 infant and toddler slots in the District.
This spring, LIIF will stand up and administer the second round of the grant program, awarding subgrants to child development programs and helping them to build business capacity and create high-quality, developmentally appropriate learning environments for infants and toddlers.
“Child care is open for business in the District, with more than 90 percent of facilities open and operating,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Christina Grant. “Throughout the pandemic, OSSE has provided support to child care providers so that they can remain in operation and do so safely. It’s crucial that we continue to support providers so that children and families can return to or access in-person early care and education programs.”
In addition to the Access to Quality Child Care Grant, the District is providing significant financial relief to child development facilities in Fiscal Year 2022, including:
- The DC Child Care Stabilization Grant, a $38 million program funded through federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, which will be available to nearly every licensed child development facility in the District; and
- The DC Child Care Road to Recovery Fund II, a $3 million grant program that will support the increased costs incurred by facilities serving medically fragile children during the pandemic and offset reduced revenues experienced by some child care subsidy providers in FY21 as a result of reduced attendance due to COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, Mayor Bowser has prioritized supporting the child care sector through the use of both local and federal relief funds, including:
- $15.7 million for the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund grant program, which delivered financial relief to nearly all licensed child care facilities in fall 2020 and summer and fall 2021;
- $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 in spring 2021 and is currently distributing a second round to qualifying subsidized child care providers;
- $400,000 in Access to Quality Emergency Grants distributed in summer 2021;
- $25 million in ARP funds to increase subsidy payment rates in FY22 and FY23 and provide scholarships and financial incentives for child care workers.