This summer, in response to calls from advocates to improve supports for the District’s youngest children, the D.C. Council approved the Birth-to-Three for All DC Act of 2018.
The Birth-to-Three for All DC Act of 2018 focuses on infants and toddlers and builds on the recent success of the District’s universal preschool expansion. The bill offers a roadmap for creating a comprehensive system of supports for children’s healthy growth and development and will take several years to fully fund and implement. Among the plan’s recommendations are fully funding the D.C. child care subsidy program, improving compensation for child development educators, and creating new positions to assist providers with licensing. The plan also calls for strengthening pre- and post-natal support for mothers, expanding mental, physical, and nutritional health programs, and increasing parenting and family supports.
The D.C. Council secured partial funding for the legislation in the FY2019 budget, committing $1.3 million to seed key components such as Healthy Steps, home visiting, increased salaries for early educators, and on-site classes for credentials. While advocates are greatly encouraged by this investment, experts estimate that fully funding the plan will require approximately $500 million over the next ten years.