D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser visited the U.S. Kids Child Development Center in Northwest on April 5 to speak about her "My Childcare DC" pilot initiative. (Courtesy of uskidsdc.org)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed a budget investment of $15.3 million to increase access to infant and toddler child care options for parents who need the assistance.

During a tour of the U.S. Kids Child Development Center in Northwest on Wednesday, April 5, Bowser spoke about the investment proposed to the D.C. City Council through the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal titled “DC Values in Action.”

“This is a very special initiative that we are advancing in our [fiscal 2018] in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said. “Here we are at U.S. Kids, a licensed child care facility here in the District of Columbia. It is one of a portfolio of federal child care centers in the District. They provide, I believe, a great model of how the federal government has supported quality child care options for us.”

Bowser said that by increasing investments in early child care they are making it possible for even more District families to receive safe and affordable care options for their children.

“Last week at the State of the District, I announced ‘My Childcare DC’ pilot initiative,” she said. “That initiative will invest 15 million in early learning grants. The goal of that program is to increase the early learning slots in the District of Columbia by 1,300 slots.”

The mayor insisted that her administration hears from parents all the time when they’re planning their families that they immediately worry about what to do once it’s time to return to work.

“Having that early care option that is quality and convenient makes life much easier for parents to be productive at home and at work,” Bowser said. “We are hoping this early childcare initiative will provide the incentive to private providers like U.S. Kids that needs to expand or find a new location.

“We, of course, would also be interested in attracting new quality vendors,” she said. “My administration will continue to fight for more access to affordable infant and toddler childcare options and ensure that the promise of inclusive prosperity is available to every District family.”

Over the next three years, the mayor’s initiative would provide: 1,300 additional infant and toddler seats; three new sites in District-owned buildings that will be leased to private child care providers to provide affordable, accessible high-quality care and support 300 D.C. residents to gain certification as educators for infants and toddlers.

“This new investment would give more children and families access to the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development opportunities high-quality child care provides,” Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles said. “We will continue working with families and providers to ease the burden of finding affordable and high-quality child care options in the city.”

Potential sites for child care development centers include the University of the District of Columbia Flagship Campus at 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW; UDC’s Community College Campus at 5171 South Dakota Avenue NE; UDC’s Community College campus headquarters at 801 North Capitol Street NE; and the Deanwood Recreation Center at 1350 49th Street NE.

“We are committed to working together to support the growing number of children and families in the District,” said Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services HyeSook Chung. “This new investment will help to alleviate the anxiety of finding affordable, high-quality child care options in the city.”

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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