Policy Resource

Washington D.C. Implements Strategies to Help Child Care Professionals Meet New Education Requirements

Oct 19, 2017

New licensing regulations in Washington D.C. include minimum education requirements for assistant teachers, teachers, and directors in early care and education settings.

The requirements are being phased in over the next five years. 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 first seven students to complete the program graduated this June, and the program is expected to enroll 150 students over the next three years. 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 the new licensing regulations here.

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