D.C. Child Development Facilities Expansion Amendment Act of 2017

Introduced: January 24, 2017

Co-introducers: Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, Elissa Silverman, Charles Allen, Robert White

Summary: To amend the Child Development Facilities Regulation Act of 1998 to direct the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to determine the eligibility of child development facilities seeking to occupy space designated for childcare in buildings and adjacent areas for the purpose of meeting the childcare needs of employees and residents; to require the Office of State Superintendent of Education to market the childcare program and provide technical assistance to the public' to establish a preference system for employees and residents eligible to receive childcare in buildings and adjacent areas; to authorize the Mayor to designate, build out, competitively award and manage at least 10, 300 square feet of space in new, renovated, and existing buildings and leased space; and to repeal the District of Columbia Employees Child Care Facilities Act of 1986.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Thank you, Chairman Mendelson.  Today, along with my colleagues Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Elissa Silverman, and Mary Cheh, I am introducing the District of Columbia Child Development Facilities Expansion Amendment Act of 2017.

It is no secret that Washington, D.C. has the highest childcare costs in the country. The Economic Policy Institute reports that the average cost of infant care is $22,631 a year.

Further, children under the age of 3 are the fastest-growing age group in the District of Columbia. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of infants and toddlers increased by 26 percent.

One of the problems that we are facing with these growing costs and population increase is that licensed early learning providers only have space for one-third of the population of infants and toddlers in D.C.

During my time as Chairperson of the Education Committee, I have often heard from families, child care providers, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (or OSSE) that finding an early learning provider in this city that is affordable, high-quality, and has open childcare slots is a rarity for many.

That is why I am introducing a bill that would require the Mayor to provide early learning providers with free childcare space, utilities, equipment, furnishings, and security in certain new, existing, and renovated D.C. owned buildings and leased space. 

It directs OSSE to determine the eligibility of existing early learning providers seeking to occupy space in buildings, to market the program, and to provide technical assistance to the providers.

It also establishes a priority system for D.C. government employees and residents seeking childcare in these buildings.

By eliminating facility costs for early learning providers, this bill ensures that cost savings are passed on to families. It also guarantees that early learning providers will no longer have to compete with more established businesses for space on the first floor of buildings.

If D.C. is to become a world-class city for education, we must plan ahead and invest more money in the zero to three years.

I look forward to working with OSSE and the Mayor to ensure that our youngest residents are put in the best possible position to succeed in school and later in life by starting as early as we can.

At this time, I will reserve my remaining time for co-introducers.

Thank you.