Do all child development facilities in DC need to be licensed?
The District of Columbia has more than 400 licensed child development facilities. These are child development centers or child development homes/expanded child development homes that have met educational, safety, training and other licensing requirements. These facilities have also completed a successful inspection. Licenses must be renewed every three years. My Child Care DC provides a complete up-to-date search of these licensed child development facilities in DC.
It is important to note that other types of early care and education do not have to undergo this licensing process. DC Public Schools, charter schools and private schools that provide pre-K education do not go through this licensing process. If you are interested in learning about pre-K education in a DC Public School or charter school, please visit My School DC.
Facilities that provide only before- or after-care, summertime educational services or classes and activities such as music or dance for children are not licensed in the same way as child development facilities. Similarly, caregiving in a family’s home, participation in a nanny share and occasional child care, such as babysitting or child care during religious services, do not need to abide by the same licensing regulations. Since these types of child care are not licensed, they do not appear in the search options on My Child Care DC.
How do I find out if the program I am interested in is licensed?
All licensed child development facilities are included on My Child Care DC. You can do a provider searchby the name of the facility, address, location within DC or by features important to you and your family.
What services are available for infants and toddlers with physical or emotional disabilities?
Strong Start is DC’s comprehensive and coordinated system for infants and toddlers with developmental delays. This system provides early intervention therapeutic and other services. The Strong Start DC Early Intervention Program serves as the single point of entry for infants and toddlers in Washington, DC, whose families have concerns about their development. If you believe that a child may benefit from Strong Start services or you have questions, please contact the Strong Start team at (202) 727-3665 or OSSE.DCeip@dc.gov.
How do I submit a complaint about a child development facility?
To submit a complaint about child development facilities, please call the Complaint and Unusual Incidents Hotline: (202) 727-2993 or send an email to OSSE.ChildcareComplaints@dc.gov.Complaints may also be faxed to the Compliance and Integrity Division at (202) 727-7295.
What is the difference between a child development center, child development home and an expanded child development home?
A child development center is a child development facility based in a center, while a child development home provides care in the provider’s home. Child development centers have no maximum number of seats, while child development homes can have up to six children. Expanded child development homes are also located in the provider’s home, but can enroll up to 12 children.
I am a parent who wants to learn more about the process for how a child development facility becomes licensed in the District of Columbia. Where can I learn more?
Where can I find aggregated information about child deaths, serious injuries and substantiated instances of child abuse in District of Columbia child development facilities?
Please Click Here for an aggregate, annual report of all child deaths and serious injuries occurring in a child development facility in the District. This report also includes instances of child abuse in child development facilities that OSSE has investigated and confirmed. In addition, each provider profile on My Child Care DC includes substantiated complaints and findings from facilities inspections for that provider.
I see that some child development facilities have a rating under Capital Quality, DC’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). What does that mean?
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 families 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.
Why don’t all child development facility profiles on My Child Care DC have information about quality ratings?
Right now, only child development facilities who accept child care vouchers are required to participate in Capital Quality. As the District continues to support Capital Quality, the goal is for more providers to choose to participate in the Capital Quality rating system so that families can have equally comparable information for more child development facilities.
Why are child development facility inspection reports not current?
To provide the most recent facility inspection reports, My Child Care DC data begins on Oct. 1, 2017. Data is updated in real-time and will be housed for three years at a time.
What is the criminal background check process for DC residents working in child development facilities outside of the District?
Employees and volunteers working in licensed child care facilities in the District of Columbia must follow the background check process as outlined and posted on the
OSSE website. Residents of the District of Columbia who work in child development facilities outside of the District, such as in Maryland or Virginia, must follow a slightly different process.
Early learning professionals who are District residents working at child development facilities outside of the District must obtain a District of Columbia criminal background check and sex offender registry (SOR) through the
District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department
This record will contain a listing only of adult convictions for which the sentence was completed not more than 10 years before the date on which the records were requested and forfeitures of collateral in a court proceeding that have occurred not more than 10 years before the date on which the record was requested.
Individuals can make a background check in person or via mail.
To make a request, you will need one of the following:
• Driver's License
• Non-Driver ID
• Original Birth Certificate AND Social Security Card
There is a $7 fee (cash or money orders only, payable to DC Treasurer; no credit cards or personal checks) to obtain these records.
On the day of your appointment, report to:
Henry J. Daly Building
300 Indiana Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Making a Background Check Request Via Mail
To obtain a background check via mail:
Write a notarized letter requesting a background check to:
Metropolitan Police Department
Criminal History Section
300 Indiana Avenue NW, Room 1075
Washington, DC 20001
The letter must include the following information:
• Full Name
• Date of Birth
• Social Security Number
• Self-addressed Stamped Envelope
• $7 Money Order payable to the DC Treasurer (Checks Not Accepted)
The letter must be notarized by a Notary Public prior to mailing.
Please allow six weeks for processing from the date the request is made.
For more information or additional assistance, contact (202) 727-4245.
What is the child abuse and neglect check process for employees and volunteers of child development facilities in the District or any other state?
Employees and volunteers working in licensed child care facilities within the District of Columbia or any other state may request a child abuse and neglect check by visiting the District of Columbia’s
Child and Family Services Administration website
The process for
Child Protection Register (CPR) requests
is fully electronic.
An official current government identification is required and there is no fee required.
Applicants who wish to appeal the accuracy of the results must contact CFSA.
There is no associated fee for this service.
For questions, call (202) 727-8885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls and emails will be monitored and responded to within 24 hours or the next business day.
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