Building a Stronger Early Education System in the District: Our Testimony to DC Council

On Wednesday, September 27, DC Appleseed joined parents, child care directors, educators, and the community at a hearing for two major pieces of legislation currently under consideration by the DC Council. The two bills up for consideration — the BEGIn Act and the Infant and Toddler Developmental Health Services Act — both strengthen the District’s commitment to its infants and toddlers.

While the pair of bills focus on different aspects of the early care and education (ECE) system in DC (the BEGin Act focuses on improving the business model for ECE, while the other hones in on the relationship between health and early education), both bills address the underpayment of early educators. They do this in part by targeting reimbursement rates the District government pays providers for serving families receiving childcare subsidies (for deeper background on reimbursement rates, check out our report with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, Solid Footing: Reinforcing the Early Care and Education Economy for Infants and Toddlers in DC.)

By increasing the reimbursement rate to actually meet the cost of providing care, the District can support ECE businesses and improve the economic security of ECE educators. Parents benefit too when their children’s caretakers earn fair wages — research shows that a better compensated, more stable early education workforce delivers better care to children. We heard parents reflect this research in their own testimony last week, with several parents outlining the benefits they’ve seen in their children after enrolling in high-quality early instruction.

Beyond reimbursement rates, both of these bills cover a lot of ground toward building better ECE and childhood health systems in DC. For more details about the legislation and our take on building an equitable ECE system in the District, check out our written testimony here.

If you weren’t able to join Wednesday’s hearing, but still would like to submit your thoughts on these bills, there’s still time to provide written testimony to the council. Written statements can be emailed to Ashley Strange, Committee Assistant, at up until October 11.

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