On August 26th, we hosted a Virtual Town Hall to discuss the District's coordination of care across the age continuum in the midst of a virtual learning environment.  More than 100 attendees participated, making it clear this is of critical importance for families and the programs that serve them.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically changing how DC out-of-school time and early child care programs will operate during the new school year. 

Washington, DC (August 6)—DC Action for Children is partnering with Black Swan Academy and Mikva Challenge DC during August to sponsor census internships for District youth to conduct text-banking and outreach in their communities. Like numerous other localities across the country, the District of Columbia faces the prospect of having a severe undercount of its residents with a delayed, and now shortened, census season. An accurate, complete census is vital for the District’s children, youth, and local democracy. Census data determines the distribution of $6 billion in federal funding to the District every year, including $400 million for children in areas such as healthcare, WIC, child care, and public schools.

In recent weeks and months, early educators and parents raised the alarm about the need to stabilize the child care industry to help pave the way for a healthy recovery for children, families and educators. In response to our - YOUR - growing pressure, the DC Council approved $5 million in emergency child care grant funding for 2020. While this was needed – and certainly worth celebrating – it is only half of the Under 3 DC request for this year.

Without any public debate, the DC Council is rushing a last-minute deal to cut $18 million in funding for programs and services that help those hit hardest by COVID-19. Further diminishing vital programs during a pandemic and doing so behind closed doors - at a time when there are serious unmet needs is reckless and immoral. The DC Council is debating this decision right now, and they could vote on it as early as tonight.

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2019 Annual Report of the District of Columbia Home Visiting Council. While we are midway through a tumultuous 2020, and at the end of an unusually long budget season, this report provides an opportunity to reflect on the important work that home visiting programs do to support families, even when a pandemic is not raging. 

Next week, the DC Council will hold its second vote on the budget, giving council members the opportunity to take greater action to address our growing child care crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. That is why we are calling on the DC Council to take immediate action to stabilize the child care sector and pursue long-term solutions to the serious challenges that lay ahead, including putting new revenue on the table. 

Jarred Bowman is a Policy Analyst with DC Action for Children providing research and advocacy to help build political power for children and families in the District.

Please join me in giving our newest team member, Tawana Jacobs, a warm welcome to DC Action for Children! 

Tawana Jacobs leads strategic brand and communications efforts for Under 3 DC and shines a spotlight on the need for more public investments for families with infants and toddlers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many barriers and interruptions to out-of-school time programming. As a result, service providers have been forced to pivot to virtual learning platforms to continue to serve youth.  Providers were uncertain about what to expect and how to tailor their programs to meet the current challenges. 

We hosted the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Virtual Town Hall with OSSE last Wednesday, July 1st to provide further clarity and a space for providers to ask questions and seek guidance. We had a great turnout with over 35 participants, which sent a strong message about the importance of this conversation and the need for more clarity from OSSE.