Do all child development facilities in DC need to be licensed?
The District of Columbia has over 400 licensed child care facilities. These are child development centers or care provided in a provider’s home that have met educational, safety, training, and other licensing requirements. These facilities have also completed a successful inspection. Licenses must be renewed every 3 years. My Child Care DC provides a complete up-to-date search of these licensed child care facilities in the DC.
It is important to note that other types of early childhood education do not have to undergo this licensing process. DC Public Schools, charter schools, and private schools that provide pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) education do not go through this licensing process. If you are interested in learning about pre-K education in a DC Public School or charter school, please visit My School DC.
Facilities that provide only before- or after-care, summertime educational services, or classes and activities such as music or dance for children are not licensed in the same way as child care facilities. Similarly, caregiving in a family’s home, participation in a nanny share, and occasional child care, such as, babysitting or child care during religious services do not need to abide by the same licensing regulations. Since these types of child care are not licensed, they do not appear in the search options on My Child Care DC.
How do I find out if the program I am interested in is licensed?
All licensed child care facilities are included on My Child Care DC. You can do a provider searchby the name of the facility, address, location within DC, or by features important to you and your family.
What services are available for infants and toddlers with physical or emotional disabilities?
Strong Start is DC’s comprehensive and coordinated system for infants and toddlers with developmental delays. This system provides early intervention therapeutic and other services. The Strong Start DC Early Intervention Program serves as the single point of entry for infants and toddlers in Washington, DC, whose families have concerns about their development. If you believe that a child may benefit from Strong Start services or you have questions, please contact the Strong Start team at (202) 727-3665 or OSSE.DCeip@dc.gov.
How do I submit a complaint about a child care facility?
To submit a complaint about child care services, please call the Complaint and Unusual Incidents Hotline: (202) 727-2993 or send an email to OSSE.ChildcareComplaints@dc.gov. Complaints may also be faxed to the Compliance and Integrity Division at (202) 727-7295.
What is the difference between a child development center, child development home, and an expanded child development home?
A child development center is a child care facility based in a center, while a child development home provides care in the provider’s home. Child development centers have no maximum number of seats, while child development homes can have up to six children. Expanded child development homes are also located in the provider’s home, but can enroll up to 12 children.
I am a parent who wants to learn more about the process for how a child care facility becomes licensed in the District of Columbia. Where can I learn more?
Where can I find aggregated information about child deaths, serious injuries, and substantiated instances of child abuse in District of Columbia child care facilities?
Please Click Here for an aggregate, annual report of all child deaths and serious injuries occurring in a child care facility in the District. This report also includes instances of child abuse in child care facilities that OSSE has investigated and confirmed. In addition, each provider profile on My Child Care DC includes substantiated complaints and findings from facilities inspections for that provider.
I see that some providers have a rating under the Quality Rating Improvement System, or Going for the Gold. What does that mean?
The Quality Rating Improvement System, or QRIS, is a way of measuring and sharing information about the quality of child care providers in the District of Columbia. States across the country, including DC, are developing these rating systems to help parents understand and select high-quality child care facilities for their young learners. The District’s current system is called Going for the Gold, and awards quality ratings ranging from Bronze to Gold built upon licensing requirements. Providers at the Gold level must be accredited, meaning that a national organization has verified that the child care provider has a high-quality learning environment for children that exceeds the threshold for quality set by licensing requirements.
Currently, the District of Columbia is transitioning from Going for the Gold, to a new system, called Capital Quality. Capital Quality is not just a new name - instead, it includes more robust information about quality beyond licensure and accreditation. Capital Quality will also allow parents to compare measures of quality across all three early learning sectors in the District - public charter schools, DC Public Schools, and child care facilities run by community-based organizations. These changes will allow parents to review and compare the program quality of various child development providers throughout the District, and make informed decisions when deciding where to enroll their child.
Capital Quality will have four tiers and will use a combination of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), the Environmental Rating Scales (ERS), and attendance measures (for pre-K programs only) to rate programs. Eventually, profiles for participating providers will include the Capital Quality rating, key elements of the provider’s quality plan, and additional information beneficial to families, such as hours of operation, group size and ratios, languages spoken, accreditation status, and results of licensing and monitoring visits.
Currently, My Child Care DC includes information about the Going for the Gold rating system. Capital Quality ratings will be available for some providers starting in January 2018. Please see the Capital Quality page on OSSE’s website for more information about Capital Quality.
Why don’t all provider profiles on My Child Care DC have information about quality ratings?
Right now, only providers who accept child care vouchers are required to participate in Going for the Gold. As the District transitions to Capital Quality, the goal is for more providers to choose to participate in the Capital Quality rating system so that parents can have equally comparable information for more providers.
Why are provider inspection reports not current?
To provide the most recent facility inspection reports, My Child Care DC data begins on October 1, 2017. Data is updated in real-time and will be housed for three years at a time.
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