Bowser lays out plan to get more kids into child care

More children in the nation’s capital would be eligible to receive financial assistance for child care programs under a plan rolled out by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday.

Bowser said she wants to raise the eligibility for the District’s child care subsidy program from 250% to 300% of the federal poverty line.

“That means instead of an income cap of $75,000 for a family of four, we’re raising that cap to $90,000,” Bowser explained.

The subsidy program helps to pay part or all of a family’s child care expenses.

More than 2,000 additional children would become eligible to participate in the program under the mayor’s plan. That would mean that 43% of kids in the District, 6 years old and younger, would be eligible for subsidized childcare.

“That’s a big win for D.C. families,” said Bowser. “We know just how critical our child care workers are to our families, but it was certainly highlighted during the pandemic.”

The plan is part of Bowser’s proposed budget that the D.C. Council is currently considering, and she acknowledged that it is not a done deal yet.

“Sometimes when we expand eligibility, we get pushback,” Bowser said. “I would say to parents — talk to your council members.”

In addition to child care, Bowser’s budget focuses on revitalizing downtown, adding hundreds more traffic cameras throughout the District and cutting the number of DC Circulator bus routes in half.

Bowser recently told council members that the city’s finances are strong, but they must face reality — an estimated drop in revenue of more than $390 million due to an economic slump, expiring federal COVID funds and a lasting shift to telework of downtown workers.

The mayor’s plan to counteract the loss of dollars generated by the 9 to 5 workforce not fully coming back to downtown is to deliver on a proposal to pull 15,000 new residents into that part of the city, allocating $41 million to support housing.

Negotiations are ongoing between the council and Bowser’s administration, with a scheduled final council vote on the budget on May 30.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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