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On Tuesday, the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) announced that, beginning November 1, the agency will change the way it pays child care providers that participate in the District’s child care subsidy program. This change would revert from COVID-19 payments to the pre-pandemic payment model, one not designed to account for the unique costs and obstacles the pandemic presents.

Today, Mayor Bowser’s administration announced that it is changing how it will make child care subsidy payments to licensed providers serving low-income District families, beginning November 1. This news comes one day after the administration announced the launch of its 5 million dollar child care relief fund to help all licensed child care programs stay in business.

COVID-19 has brought with it a storm of uncertainty and instability for the District’s child care providers, many of whom already struggled to make ends meet prior to the public health emergency.  In this exceptionally challenging time, one of the few sources of stability has been the child care subsidy program. The program supports nearly half of the District’s child care programs to some degree, all of whom serve families facing significant barriers to opportunity because of racism or economic marginalization. Throughout the pandemic, the Office of the State Superintendent - which oversees the child care subsidy program - has continued paying participants set rates meant to mirror their usual payments. These continued payments have played an important role in trying to stabilize the child care sector over the past months as costs to care for infants and toddlers within important, but stringent, CDC and DC Health and safety guidelines have, in some cases, doubled or tripled.

Yesterday, at Mayor Muriel Bowser's National Maternal and Infant Health Summit, DC Action for Children moderated a panel featuring four amazing young parents.

As part of the District’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery efforts, the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund will provide $5 million in emergency operational funding to local child care facilities. Relief funds will be granted to all licensed District child care providers to ensure a supply of child care for families during the public health emergency and recovery period. This effort is being led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) is partnering to handle intake and disperse program funds.

Last week, several DC communities were traumatized by another shooting of a young Black man. This time it was fatal. This time by the hands of the Metropolitan Police Department. ENOUGH! We are sickened and outraged by this violence. We mourn with the family of Deon Kay, and the communities who love him. We mourn with the children, youth, and communities who are once again traumatized by violence, which will have a lifelong impact.

Two dozen young people across the District can start their new school year knowing they’re making a difference to their communities as Census Youth Ambassadors. DC Action for Children created a Youth Census Ambassador Internship to foster knowledge and appreciation for data among young people. We invited Mikva Challenge DC and The Black Swan Academy to partner with us and offer paid internships to their youth program participants.

Everyone needs fuel to keep fighting for change. DC Action for Children staff will be sharing books, movies, podcasts, and other media that inspire, energize, and motivate us to do the work.

We can all agree that this year's budget season was like no other. To remind you, Mayor Bowser presented her budget on May 18th and the DC Council began their public hearings later that week to respond, assess, weigh in, seek public input, debate, modify and finalize the city’s moral document that will guide spending for the next year, during one of the most challenging times in history. The final budget was completed in late July, signed by Mayor Bowser and sent to Capitol Hill for its required 30-day review period

This week, we are ALL beginning a challenging start to the first week of school–students, parents, teachers, administrators, and advocates!