Early Childhood

Early Childhood

Learning begins at birth and continues throughout the lifespan.

DC Action works to eliminate disparities and strengthen our early childhood system so it can support families with young children from birth through age 8. Through our initiatives, Under 3 DC and the DC Home Visiting Council, we empower families and communities to raise their voices to create change.

Stay Informed

Our DC Kids Count initiative provides the best available District-level and ward-level data and key indicators of child and youth well-being to inspire innovative and equitable solutions.

Visit our DC Kids Count online – Early Childhood

Get Involved 

Join Under 3 DC

The Under 3 DC Coalition is based at DC Action and also led by an executive committee that includes the DC Early Learning Collaborative, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the Early Childhood Innovation Network, Jews United for Justice, and SPACEs in Action. 

The Coalition harnesses the voices and power of parents with young children, early educators, and community-based organizations to shine a spotlight on the need for more public investments in high-quality, equitable early care and education.

Learn more


Join the DC Home Visiting Council

The DC Home Visiting Council is made up of home visiting programs, local government agency representatives, early childhood advocates, managed care organizations, and community stakeholders.

Members of the Council work to strengthen the understanding, implementation, and sustainability of home visiting as a strategy to support positive child and family outcomes. 

​Since 2016, the Home Visiting Council has been chaired and staffed by DC Action.

Learn more 

Make a Difference

  1. Join us in building support for these critical investments.
  2. Urge your Councilmembers to support and fully fund these priorities.

Early Childhood Resources

Home Visiting Policy Brief, February 2023

While home visiting is a proven strategy that provides families with one-on-one guidance and a variety of tools to help them thrive, the home visiting field is struggling to keep pace with improvements made in other vital caregiving professions. In a new policy brief, the Home Visiting Council has identified multiple opportunities for policymakers to improve workforce conditions for home visitors, keeping them in the profession and building the capacity to spend more time dedicated to the families they serve. The recommendations are to: standardize and increase home visitor wages, increase home visiting grant funding, and facilitate the streamlining of data reporting requirements.

Establishing a New Normal for Early Education, 2021-2022 Under 3 DC Impact Report

Our community grew in numbers and depth because our staff and coalition members dedicated themselves to learning about each other and building consensus, partnership, and trust. These relationships made it possible for us to pivot in the face of the unexpected, lean into each other when things seemed impossible, and believe in our own strength and power. Read more about this incredible year in our new impact report. Available in both English and Spanish

Early Educators Get a Pay Boost!

In 2018, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Birth-to-Three for All DC law. This law included a promise to early childhood educators of salary and benefits equivalent to DC's public school teachers with similar education and experience. In 2021, the DC Council passed a tax increase to make it happen and convened the Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force to develop a plan to increase early educator pay. Below are the task force's 2022 reports and accompanying materials about the pay increase, to date.

Initial Report of the Task Force, Jan 2022  |  Final Report of the Task Force, March 2022  |  Task Force Pay Supplement FAQ  |  Compensation Parity Quick Guide English  |  Compensation Parity Quick Guide Spanish  |  Under 3 DC blog post about pay supplements

DC Home Visiting Council 2021 Annual Report, March 2022

"2021 demonstrated how home visiting services have been a real stabilizing force for many families with young children. For two long years, the District’s home visiting programs have quietly shown up for families in immeasurable ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. While home visitors continue to use their training to center the growth of the family and their children’s development, they have been able to walk them through relief resources and coping strategies to stay afloat during a uniquely challenging time. As families continue to navigate this uncharted territory, participating families know they have a trusted family support worker or home visitor in their corner to support them in their parenting journey."

Letter to Mayor Bowser on Coalition's FY23 Budget Priorities, February 2022

"In this pivotal moment of our city’s recovery, we ask that you continue to respond to the urgent needs of this vital sector by deepening local investments for programs that have kept families healthy throughout these challenging times, ensure that fair compensation reaches our talented workforce so they can continue to care for their families as they continue to care for ours, and direct local funds to support thousands of families facing the possibility of eviction."


DC Council Takes Major Step Toward Funding Birth to Three

"Today, the DC Council took the first big step toward funding Birth-to-Three for All, the District’s landmark early learning legislation. Councilmember Charles Allen introduced a budget amendment to the Committee of the Whole at today’s meeting that would fund early educator compensation increases and support other public good programs."


Failure to Build a High-Quality Child Care System is a Major Misstep in the Mayor’s Budget

Mayor Bowser missed an unprecedented opportunity to combine federal and local funding to make bold, transformative investments that would strengthen the District’s early childhood system and ensure a just recovery for all children, families, and early learning programs. Her fiscal year (FY) 2022-2025 budget for early education fails to take transformative steps toward a high-quality, equitable, and sustainable early education systemas envisioned in the Birth to Three for all DC Law, which remains largely unfunded since its passage in 2018. The Mayor’s proposal uses nearly $147 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) and other federal funding through FY 2025 to make short-term investments sprinkled across a range of programs.


Child Care Development Fund State Plan Resource Guide

The District is currently updating its three-year Child Care Development Fund State Plan, which provides an important opportunity for parents, child care providers, educators, and advocates to influence DC’s plans for child care for the next three years. Under 3 DC is sharing these resources on the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) to help you get involved in the District’s state planning process this summer.

Fondo de Cuidado y Desarrollo Infantil Documento de Recursos 

En este momento, el Distrito está actualizando su Plan Estatal de tres años para el Fondo de Cuidado y Desarrollo Infantil (CCDF). Se trata de una importante oportunidad para que los padres, los maestros, los proveedores y quienes abogan por el cuidado infantil intervengan en la planificación del cuidado infantil de D.C. para los próximos tres años. El propósito de este documento es brindarle información sobre la Subvención en Bloque para el Cuidado y Desarrollo Infantil (CCDBG) y sobre el Fondo de Cuidado y Desarrollo Infantil (CCDF) con el objetivo de ayudarlo a participar en el proceso de planificación estatal del Distrito este verano.


DC Home Visiting Council 2020 Annual Report

In fiscal year 2020--as in 2019--13 organizations implemented 16 home visiting programs. In total, these programs had the capacity to serve about 1,362 children. For the first time, this year’s annual report shares how many families home visiting programs served. In 2020, 1,277 families benefited from the support of a home visiting program. 


Mayor Bowser: The District Must Maximize Opportunity for Early Childhood Sector Offered by American Rescue Plan

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.


Voices From the Field: The Experiences of the District’s Home Visitors

This report highlights the strengths, challenges, and needs of the home visiting workforce in the District of Columbia. Available in English and Spanish.


The Status of DC Child Care During COVID-19 

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.


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

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.


Child Care Subsidy

The Child Care Subsidy Program, which uses both federal and local funds, helps qualified families pay child care tuition.


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. 


Significant Birth to Three Funding Passes in the DC Council

The Council of the District of Columbia passed a nearly $16 million investment as a partial yet key down payment on the Birth-to-Three for All DC Act of 2018. The Council’s commitment will fund measures to ensure healthier birth outcomes and supports for the District’s youngest residents to grow and thrive. Community advocacy to hold the Council accountable to the promise of the unanimous passage of the Birth to Three for All DC Act resulted in this partial funding but more money is needed to fully implement program. 


Angelique Speight: Full funding for Birth-to-Three law would expand the synergetic effect of high-quality, home-based child care centers (DC LINE) 

Thanks to our partners at SPACEs in Action

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy.” It’s a common refrain touted by politicians, news outlets and others. So why don’t I, the owner of a family child care business, feel a sense of pride and recognition when I hear it?


2018 Home Visiting Council Annual Report

As 2019 takes off at full speed, we are pleased to announce the release of a new resource for DC early childhood policymakers, providers, and stakeholders: the 2018 Annual Report of the District of Columbia Home Visiting Council. This report combines the most up-to-date information about home visiting programs and funding in DC with the HV Council’s analysis of opportunities to strengthen home visiting.


Health Public Hearing: “Leverage for Our Future Act of 2019”

...Based on this information, and in order to ensure that this bill to address the needs of pregnant people, young children, and their families, we believe it will be important for the Council to seek answers to the following questions as it evaluates this bill:


Public Oversight Roundtable: The Status of Home Visiting Services in the District

Home visiting is a key strategy for supporting pregnant women, young children, and their families, because it provides education, coaching, parenting techniques and resources. In these evidence-based programs, trained home visitors work collaboratively with families who are expecting or who already have young children to achieve improved outcomes in school readiness and/or child health and development and prevent child abuse and neglect. These programs also provide much-needed social support and serve to connect participants to other families, as well as to community resources that promote positive health, developmental and well-being outcomes for children and families. Additionally, these programs are especially valuable in facilitating engagement with expectant women and families who are traditionally difficult to reach and establish strong rapport with, as these families are often at the greatest risk for negative outcomes.


Piecing Together: Completing the Early Childhood System Puzzle in the District

The District’s landscape of programs and services for families with young children contains a variety of assets. With a constellation of proven programs, innovative initiatives and evidence-based strategies undergirded by robust investments, the District has many of the key pieces needed to build a coordinated early childhood system. However, stakeholders have long acknowledged that DC has yet to achieve this goal. For years, providers, teachers, advocates and government officials have discussed and debated approaches to reducing silos and integrating efforts to transform this disparate landscape into a high-functioning system. Given the current attention and legislative efforts focused on early childhood, the city has an opportunity to build a strong, coordinated early childhood system that responds to the needs of families, uses resources wisely, promotes racial equity and adequately prepares young children for the future.


Quality Improvement Network: A Systems Evaluation Mid-Year Report

One of the primary goals of the Quality Improvement Network (QIN) systems evaluation is to provide timely and actionable data and analysis to support the QIN in its development and evolution. To this end, DC Action for Children (DC Action) produced a mid-year report for The BUILD Initiative to review at the midpoint of the evaluation’s first year.


Home Visiting Literature Review

In anticipation of a report on the status of home visiting in the District, to be conducted by DC Action for Children at the request of the DC Auditor, this literature review seeks to understand what evidence of effectiveness exists for the different home visiting programs that currently exist or that have the potential to be implemented in DC. Outcomes categories analyzed in this search include school readiness, child welfare, and maternal and child health. Outcomes are analyzed by category for each program model selected for review.