Spotlight On: The FY 2010 Child Care Budget

This blog entry is part of a series that will highlight specific areas of the Mayor’s proposed FY 2010 budget.  For more budget analysis and information, visit our Budget Toolkit. 

It hasn’t gotten much attention, but child care programs have become a victim of DC’s budget crunch.   The proposed budget for child care programs will decline by 5 percent, from $93.5 million in FY 2009 to $89 million in FY 2010, after adjusting for inflation.  The number of children served in the city’s child care voucher program, DC Public Schools After School for All program, and other smaller programs is expected to decrease from 22,400 children in FY 2008 to 21,100 children in FY 2009.  An estimate for FY 2010 is not available, but it is unlikely to be any higher than in 2009.

The Mayor’s budget also cuts funding for Pre-K for All, legislation passed by the Council in 2008 to make preschool programs available to all DC children by 2014.  The FY 2009 budget included $9.5 million for the initiative; however, nearly $3 million of this was cut mid-year, and the FY 2010 budget includes only $5.1 million for Pre-K for All.  The expansion plan calls for a 15 percent increase in the number of children enrolled in a Pre-K program in FY 2010, but this now appears unlikely.

In addition, the FY 2010 budget for the Department of Parks and Recreation eliminates all funding for the department’s child care program and proposes that these funds remain in the ECEA budget to support other child care programs.  Given that the ECEA budget is decreasing by 5 percent, it’s not clear how this will affect the number of children served.

For more information, see our summary of the childcare budget.

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