DC’s 6,000 Licensed Infant and Toddler Slots: Affordability and Quality

DC has nearly 6,000 licensed child care slots for infants and toddlers. Child care serves children birth to 3 (before they transition to preschool).

Meanwhile, about 22,900 children birth to three live in the city, according to DC KIDS COUNT data.

That’s about four children for every licensed slot.

Some neighborhoods have fewer than 10 slots (Colonial Village/Shepherd Park/North Portal Estates, Woodridge/Ft. Lincoln/Gateway and Eastland Gardens/Kenilworth) while others have hundreds (Congress Heights/Bellevue/Washington Highlands and Downtown/Chinatown/Penn Quarter/Mount Vernon Square/North Capitol Street).

Some caveats to keep in mind with these data:

•    The public data we have count only licensed infant and toddler slots. Family care-giving (such as parents or grandparents) and other formal (such as nannies) or informal arrangements are not included.

•    The data do not include the about 740 toddlers enrolled in early Head Start.

•    Parents may not seek infant and toddler care in their neighborhoods. They may prefer to find a slot nearer their job than their home.

The cost of care is critically as important as the availability. According to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the full-time daily market rate in 2010 for care for a one-year-old was $72.47. This translates into nearly $17,400 per year, or more one-third (36 percent) of median family income.

Increasing birth rates in the city point to the need to examine the issues of infant and toddler care supply and demand, affordability and quality a lot more closely.
Want to know more? Visit our 2012 DC KIDS COUNT e-Databook for an interactive map, plus more information about these and other neighborhood conditions for DC children and youth. Tune in next Friday for another quick look into our numbers.

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