Under 3 DC Coalition

Under 3 DC

Under 3 DC

The early years of a child’s life are a wondrous and amazing period of development. In fact, the first three years shape every year after. And every family needs help when they have an infant or toddler. Together, we can make sure DC remains an attractive place to live, to work, and to raise a family.


Who We Are

Under 3 DC is a broad-based coalition of parents with young children, early childhood
educators, advocates, community-based organizations, and health professionals who
believe every child deserves a strong start and a limitless future. Our work centers on the people experiencing racial and economic injustice every day. It shines a spotlight on the need for more public investments to support families with infants and toddlers. Together, we can set the city on a path to creating and sustaining a high-quality, equitable early childhood system.

In 2020, the Under 3 DC Coalition was launched to advocate for full funding and implementation of Birth-to-Three For All DC. The Coalition involves and mobilizes people and groups across the District of Columbia from diverse perspectives, including parents, educators, civic leaders, leaders from different demographic groups, businesses, and congregations. The Coalition is led by an executive committee made up of majority women-led, and people of color-led organizations: DC Action, DC Early Learning Collaborative, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Early Childhood Innovation Network, Jews United for Justice, and SPACEs in Action.


Why Birth to Three for All DC Matters

In 2018, the District of Columbia enacted the Birth-to-Three For All DC Act, which will create a comprehensive system of services for infants and toddlers and their families. For example, it would establish wages for early educators comparable to those in the K-12 system, stipulate that no family would spend more than 10% of their income on child care, and support home visiting and a variety of health and mental health-related services. The Act is a key element of addressing the city’s deep racial and economic inequities.


Get Involved

To join the Under 3 DC Coalition contact Ruqiyyah Anbar-Shaheen, Director of Early Childhood, at ruqiyyah@dckids.org. 

Visit Under3DC.org


Featured Resources


Under 3 DC Infographic, April 2021

In English: pdf and png

In Spanish: pdf and png


What's in the Birth to Three Act?

Birth to Three Program Fact Sheets, 2021

Child Care Subsidy   HealthySteps   Healthy Futures   Help Me Grow   Home Visiting   Lactation


Letter to Mayor Bowser: The District Must Maximize Opportunity for Early Childhood Sector Offered by American Rescue Plan, April 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers an unprecedented opportunity to preserve the District’s current supply of child care and make investments to set up our early childhood education system to be strong, high-quality, affordable, and accessible. See our letter to Mayor Bowser and her administration with our recommendations for urgent use of these funds.


Letter to Mayor Bowser on Coalition's FY22 Budget Priorities, December 2020

"Now is not the time for budget cuts, underfunding of services, or harmful reprogramming of subsidy dollars that could emaciate our early childhood systems. Such actions would only hinder the District’s economic recovery; exacerbate inequality in the city; and further compound COVID-19 related suffering for DC families, especially Black and Latinx families."


The Status of DC Child Care During COVID-19, November 2020

As COVID-19 continues to create challenges for early learning programs and families with young children, survey responses from local early learning programs highlight the deep system failures that endanger the sector.


2020 Impact Report

The coronavirus pandemic shook the District to its core in 2020, but Under 3 DC persisted. The community came together and fought to preserve funding for critical services for children and families. Protecting funding for health and the child care programs was the most important victory. Any loss of child care and any cuts to successful health programs puts the well-being of the District’s youngest children at risk.


D.C. Can’t Have Economic Recovery Without Child Care Investments, May 2020

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”)1 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. 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 report highlights five key takeaways and 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