Racism defines almost every aspect of society. We have seen how generations of inequality have resulted in a nation struggling to maintain a civil society today. The time has come to let go of outmoded paradigms, protocols, and biases in all of our social systems. This starts by acknowledging that our social systems do not yet provide justice for our Black and Brown educators, families, and little ones. This acknowledgement must also include supporting access to nutritious food for our expectant parents, their infants, and toddlers. 

February 2020 saw 12,354 participants in the DC's WIC program. We believe, given the Covid-19 pandemic, that number will increase significantly. In a poll given May 21-26, 2020, two-thirds of DC households with children reported being not at all confident, or only somewhat confident, about being able to afford food for the next four weeks.

Yesterday the DC Council passed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act. We appreciate the Council's quick and decisive action to support vulnerable District residents and small businesses. As we all navigate this unfamiliar public health situation, the needs of child care and youth providers require additional immediate action to ensure that providers remain viable and that families - particularly low-income families - can maintain their much needed support.

This is an important time for DC’s young children, pregnant women and their families. DC is growing rapidly, and more and more young children are calling DC home: currently, 45,000 children under age five live in the District. In 2016, the District saw 9,858 births across the city. With such a large and growing population of children, it is crucial that DC is an excellent place to parent and a great place to be a kid. The research is clear that children reach significant developmental milestones between birth and age 5 and that those milestones are influenced dramatically by a family’s access to resources. In a city where almost 20% of children under 5 live below the poverty level, home visiting and other resources within a coordinated system of care and support are especially relevant to reducing disparities.