Effective as of December 2, 2016, new licensing regulations in Washington D.C. seek to improve the quality of the early childhood workforce by ensuring that staff meet the necessary qualifications and credentials to educate young children.
Included in the new licensing regulations are minimum education requirements for assistant teachers, teachers, and directors in early care and education settings. The requirements are being gradually phased in through December of 2023. One of the strategies the District is employing to help new entrants to the field meet these requirements is the First Step Child Development Associate (CDA) credential program, which assists high school students in earning a CDA simultaneously with their high school diploma. Students commit to participate in First Step over two years, during which they receive competency-based education, paid summer practicums in licensed child care centers, and individualized college and career counseling. The program also covers students’ CDA application and exam fees, and provides access to additional scholarship programs. The District has also taken steps to assist current child care professionals in meeting the new licensing requirements. It increased funding for scholarships for child care educators in the most recent budget and launched an online platform where individuals can complete their CDA coursework for free. Read more about the District’s licensing regulations here.
Updated January 2020