Policy Resource

District of Columbia Launches Early Learning Quality Improvement Network

Jan 22, 2018

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser launched the Early Learning Quality Improvement Network (QIN) on March 23, 2015.

The Early Learning Network QIN focuses the District’s efforts on providing high-quality early learning and health services for infants, toddlers, and families. It was the first step in a multi-year effort to build a neighborhood-based quality improvement system. The QIN designated three nonprofits, United Planning Organization (UPO), CentroNia, and Mary’s Center, as hubs to support home- and center-based child development providers across the city to increase access and enhance the quality of infant and toddler care. The three nonprofits partner with the city to improve child care facilities with more limited resources. The hubs assist providers in meeting Early Head Start standards and provide comprehensive services for children and families. Programs have access to mental health consultation, family engagement specialists, health and nutrition managers, and early intervention staff.

During the 2017-2018 program year, UPO and CentroNia supported a network of 14 federally funded child development centers in addition to three centers that were funded through a public-private partnership with the Bainum Family Foundation. Through local funds, Mary’s Center supported a network of 14 child development homes. The hubs provide continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services while also providing coaching, professional development, coordination and technical assistance to help child care partners meet Early Head Start standards.

This neighborhood-based system benefits infants, toddlers, and providers. The program model continues to promote the continuity of care approach. All 14 of the federally funded EHS-CCP child development centers, the three public-private partnership-funded child development centers and the 14 locally funded child development homes offer a full-day (no less than 10 hours) and full-year (no less than 48 weeks) model. Infants and toddlers remain with the same teachers throughout the duration of their care whenever possible.

The cumulative enrollment for children served in program year 2017-2018 was 308. The total number of families served in program year 2017-2018 was 267. During the 2017-2018 program year, the program successfully guided, supported and encouraged continued educational attainment, permanent housing and stable employment for several parents. In addition, the QIN held its first cohort of the Fatherhood Initiative. The District plans to continue to expand and leverage federal, local and private funding to provide high-quality early childhood education to the District’s youngest learners.

Updated January 2020

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