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Mayor Bowser and the DC Council

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In the coming weeks, Mayor Bowser and the DC Council will pass a new city budget. The decisions they will make are especially important now as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Before COVID-19, there were only enough child care seats for one out of every three children under the age of 3 in DC. Now, most providers are struggling to stay open, increasing the risk of a child care crisis just as we are struggling to reopen the economy.

DC leaders need to make child care a priority in this new budget. Sign our petition to tell Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to fully fund and support child care and healthy families -- #ChildCareIsEssential!

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To: Mayor Bowser and the DC Council
From: [Your Name]

Mayor Bowser and DC Council,

I am writing to you as a concerned DC resident to urge you to make child care a priority in the new budget. We cannot get our city back to work and reopen the economy if parents, children, and caregivers do not have the support they need to navigate this unprecedented crisis. Additionally, this crisis has revealed that child care workers are essential workers, and DC’s budget must reflect that to ensure a thriving local economy.

Before the pandemic hit, there were only enough child care slots for one out of every three children under the age of 3 in DC and only 8% of families could afford child care. Now that providers are struggling to stay open and pay for their facilities and staff costs, we are risking a catastrophic child care shortage unless DC leaders increase support in this budget.

To ensure a safe and inclusive recovery, we urge you to hold the child care subsidy program harmless by rejecting budget cuts to this industry at the heart of a strong District economy. DC’s child care businesses who participate in the subsidy program will require at least a $10 million enhancement in the FY2021 OSSE budget to preserve their financial viability as they implement pandemic-related public health measures. This includes more staffing and reduced class sizes to meet safety and social distancing guidelines.

Right now, child care providers -- especially those who rely on private tuition payments -- are struggling to pay rent and keep their employees. Small business grants specifically for child care are immediately needed to help cover rent, utilities, insurance, lost wages, and more. We should leverage emergency federal dollars to meet these needs.

With these measures, DC leaders can stabilize -- and increase -- the supply of child care as our city recovers and more parents return to work. Strengthening the child care subsidy, providing relief for non-subsidy providers, and protecting critical health programs like Healthy Start, Healthy Futures, Help Me Grow, and home visiting will ensure that District families have the resources and support to start anew and thrive!