Councilmember Silverman’s Non-Traditional Child Care Bill Unanimously Passes First Council Vote

Today, on the first of two legislative votes, the D.C. Council committed to addressing the need for more affordable, non-traditional child care options for District families by unanimously passing the Child Care Study Act of 2017 at its regularly scheduled legislative meeting.

Originally introduced by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman as the Non-Traditional Child Care Needs Evaluation Act of 2017 and supported by seven colleagues, the legislation seeks to respond to resident concerns about the rapidly increasing need for affordable child care options for families working outside the standard hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“No family should have to take on excessive financial hardship to make sure their child is safe while they earn a paycheck,” said Silverman. “Every District family should have the opportunity to grow and thrive in our city. Access to diverse, affordable child care options is essential to making that possible.”

Currently 112,000 hourly workers are employed by some of the District’s largest industries: hospital and health care; hospitality and restaurants; and retail. Many of these jobs have “non-traditional schedules,” meaning shifts that occur on weekends or between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays. Adults that work non-traditional hours are more likely to work irregular schedules, receive lower pay, and be given fewer benefits than employees who work traditional hours. In addition to a citywide shortage of licensed child care providers, only fifteen percent of the District’s existing facilities offer services during non-traditional hours.

Under today’s legislation, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will be required to conduct a study that would assess the need for non-traditional child care providers in the city. Specifically, the assessment will determine need by ward and industry of employment. OSSE will also evaluate the need to increase available and accepted child care subsidies and provide recommendations on how to incentivize more child care providers in the District to include non-traditional hours.

“Friends and family are rarely sustainable substitutes for providers trained in care and learning,” said Silverman. “This is an important step towards making child care truly work for all of our workers, and I thank Councilmember Grosso for moving quickly on this bill.”

The final vote on the legislation could come as soon as May 16, if an additional legislative meeting is scheduled.