One of the reasons I enjoy this issue is because of our Preschool & Child Care Guide. As a parent of a teenager, I remember those times as especially happy and precious. But as I’ve been reading and hearing about the child care shortage in D.C., I realize things have changed since my son was growing up. There were no waiting lists. I didn’t register him for a school when I was pregnant. Now, it seems you have to. Last year, Washington’s Top News (WTOP) did a five-part series called “Child Care Crisis” and covered such issues as why it’s so hard to find care, and why costs are surpassing college tuition rates. Their reports also examine the emotional toll the lack of child care takes on families.
But enough about the bad. The good news is that parents and businesses are working together to find solutions. According to the article, “10 Out-of-the-Box Childcare Options That Are Changing Working Moms’ Lives” by Working Mother, more businesses are offering licensed care centers, “Babies at Work” programs, cooperative working/childcare spaces, etc. The YMCA has jumped in offering early education programs, amongst others.
And while I was looking into the child care situation, I noticed something else interesting. But first, some background: In December ’16, the District put into effect new licensing regulations which require some child care teachers to get a college degree. (More detail on this can be read by checking out The Washington Post’s article, “D.C. Among First in Nation to Require Child Care Workers to Get College Degrees.”) There are multiple sides to this issue, but one thing is certain: The child care situation is changing.
Moving forward 16 months to April ’18, a lawsuit was filed by a group of child care professionals and a parent, in U.S. District Court, to challenge the regulation. On June 21, lawyers for the District argued for dismissal of the lawsuit and the plaintiffs have until July 5 to respond, according to a report by The Washington Post. You can go to washingtonfamily.com for updates. Oral arguments will probably take place in the fall.
Reading positive articles such as “Can’t Travel? Take a Literary Staycation!” on pg. 30 keeps me optimistic and I hope it does the same for you, the reader. But we as parents and the private and public sectors will need to work together to keep early childhood a time filled with learning and joy — except for the occasional ice cream cone drop and sand box scuffle.
Washington FAMILY Magazine