The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed and compounded existing issues of access, quality, equity and funding in the District of Columbia’s early learning (or “child care”) system for families with infants, toddlers and children too young to attend elementary school. Investments in our early learning system are a necessity for reopening the District and supporting long-term economic recovery. This system was already fragile financially before the pandemic — with programs operating on thin margins — and will not survive unless dedicated recovery funding is provided. In addition, workers with young children will not return to work without safe and affordable child care.
Two recent surveys conducted among teachers, owners and directors of early learning programs by the District of Columbia Association for the Education of Young Children (DCAEYC) and the Under 3 DC Coalition (Under 3 DC) shed light on the looming and overlooked child care crisis. The brief highlights five key takeaways, along with recommendations designed to help policymakers, funders and advocates make informed decisions about where resources are needed most in the District to support families with young children as businesses begin to reopen and temporary work-from-home options are phased out.
Read the full brief below.