What is the Arlington Child Care Initiative?
Child care is a key component of a thriving, diverse community. For Arlington to remain competitive as the preeminent place to live, work, and play in the region, the County Manager charged staff to develop solutions to address the accessibility, availability, and quality of child care in Arlington.
The Child Care Initiative (CCI) will promote the development of an inclusive, integrated child care system that effectively serves all Arlington County families, with a priority focus on vulnerable populations. This system will be strengthened by engagement, participation, and collaboration across a diverse network of stakeholders, and will ultimately increase child care availability and accessibility (to include affordability), and improve the overall quality of child care programs.
The County Manager has established a CCI Leadership Roundtable comprised of 22 individuals (parents, child care providers, educators) who have knowledge of Virginia’s and Arlington’s child care regulations and resources. The CCI Leadership Roundtable will set the direction of and seek stakeholder and community input on a CCI action plan that will guide this effort. The CCI Leadership Roundtable will also receive regular progress updates, report to the County and School Boards on the plan’s activities, and make recommendations to the County and School Boards for action. The CCI Leadership Roundtable has established a CCI Work Group that is responsible for refining the CCI action plan and working on the plan’s action steps.
- Preliminary Work Phase: Beginning in 2017, County staff launched a coordinated effort to bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, collect data, identify resources, engage with experts, and identify issues. This core group of more than 80 individuals developed a draft action plan that was completed in December 2017. The team also compiled a detailed demographic overview of child care in Arlington, which was used to inform development of the draft action plan.
- Public Engagement Phase: The draft action plan is a starting point for a much broader public engagement phase. The plan presents recommendations for organizational structure, goals, and other key areas, and offers a number of proposed action steps by which to meet specific goals within the identified focus areas — accessibility, availability, and quality. This phase gives community members an opportunity to review the earlier work and provide input that will inform a formal action plan. Feedback will be accepted through many channels, including a community meeting on January 25 at Central Library.
- Implementation Phase: Once the action plan is in place, the Child Care Initiative work group and committees will begin the work as spelled out in the identified action steps. The time frames for completion will vary depending upon the complexity and urgency of the tasks.