Chicago

CCR&R Service Center Locations:

209 Upshur St. NW,
Washington, DC 20011
Phone: (202) 829-2500

2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE,
Washington, DC 20020
Phone: (202) 678-0027

Tips to Choose Early Care and Education


How to Choose Early Care and Education?

When you are looking for early care and education options for your child, it can feel like there are a lot of choices. The District of Columbia has more than 400 licensed child development facilities in addition to public schools, charter schools and private schools that offer pre-K. How do you choose the right facility for your child?

Factors to consider:

  • Is the facility conveniently located for you? Consider how close the facility is to your home or work, whether it is near a Metro or bus line or whether you will be able to find parking if you plan on driving to and from the facility.
  • Is the facility open during times that align with your schedule? Consider when you will need to pick-up and drop-off your child, or if you will need early care and education during nontraditional hours, such as early in the morning or late at night.
  • Does the cost of early care and education feel realistic for your family? If you need assistance paying for early care and education, the Child Care Subsidy Program may be able to assist you. The Child Care Subsidy Program offers financial assistance in the form of child care vouchers to low-income families. Please visit Paying for Child Care for more information.
  • Does your child have special needs? If your child has a developmental delay, disability or other special medical needs, make sure that the facilities you consider can provide the right type of services and support. Considerations for families looking into services for a child with special needs:
    • Safety: Is this a program that will provide a safe environment for my child? For example, are there hand rails and safety bars, if needed?
    • Medical: Is there a nurse on site full time? Part time? How are medications handled?
    • Specialists and Specialty services: Are there therapists on site? Does the school have regular access to speech, occupational and physical therapy?
    • Behavior Issues: What strategies are in place to manage challenging behavior?
    • Specialized Equipment: Does the program have access to adaptive equipment (e.g. gait trainer, augmentative communication device), if needed?

How do I find quality early care and education?

Families can get access to information about quality early care and education options through the My Child Care DC website and DC Child Care Connections, the District’s child care resource and referral (CCR&R) program, which is a free resource that helps connect families with early care and education opportunities.

What are the benefits of quality early care and education?

A child’s earliest years are the foundation for their future, and all families deserve the best education for their child. My Child Care DC helps families find quality child care options with skilled educators, engaging classrooms and age-appropriate curricula that encourage all children to play and grow their minds and bodies.

What do I look for in a licensed early care and education setting?

There are many things to consider when selecting an early care and education setting. The District of Columbia’s child development facility licensing regulations establish the minimum requirements necessary to protect the health, safety, welfare and positive development of children in early care and education. How to discover if a location is the right place for your child? Check out Child Care Aware’s 38 Research-Based Indicators of Quality Child Care, which is a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. You can also click here for Child Care Aware’s steps for selecting a child care program.

Capital Quality, DC’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Capital Quality replaces Going for the Gold, DC’s original QRIS, with a system that measures early care and education program quality and focuses on continuous quality improvement. Capital Quality is not just a new name, it includes more robust information about the quality of the early care and education settings. These changes will allow parents to review and compare the quality of various early care and education programs throughout the District, and make informed decisions when deciding where to enroll their child. Please see the Capital Quality page on OSSE’s website for more information about Capital Quality.

Capital Quality Designations:

  • Developing: These programs meet children’s basic health and safety standards and there is minimal evidence that the program provides a nurturing environment with supportive interactions (e.g., responsive scheduling, warm/positive interactions) that promotes children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
  • Progressing: These programs meet children’s basic health and safety standards and there is adequate evidence that the program provides a nurturing environment with supportive interactions (e.g., responsive scheduling, warm/positive interactions) that promotes children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
  • Quality: These programs meet children’s basic health and safety standards and there is good evidence that the program provides a nurturing environment with supportive interactions (e.g., responsive scheduling, warm/positive interactions) that promotes children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
  • High-Quality: These programs meet children’s basic health and safety standards and there is considerable evidence that the program provides a nurturing environment with supportive interactions (e.g., responsive scheduling, warm/positive interactions) that promotes children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
  • Preliminary: These programs meet children’s basic health and safety standards. This is an initial designation provided to programs that have just entered the Capital Quality rating system. These programs are still in the process of being rated to determine their Capital Quality designation of Developing, Progressing, Quality or High-Quality.

How do I connect with DC Child Care Connections, the CCR&R?

DC Child Care Connections is available via telephone, email or in-person at their two locations. Please see the table below for contact information and locations.

Location 1 Location 2 Hotline and Email Address
Point of Contact:
Dale Brown
209 Upshur St. NW, Washington, DC 20011
(202) 829-2500
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Point of Contact:
Brenda Harris
2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20020
(202) 678-0027
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
DC Child Care Connections Hotline:
(202) 829-2500 Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Translation services provided
DC Child Care Connections Email Address: osse.dcchildcareconnections@dc.gov

 



© 2020 DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
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