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Coalition forms to bring universal child care to D.C.

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Cohen, Matt
Publication Date: 
29 Jul 2015



Last month, the Post declared that universal child care will be "the next big liberal cause." Jeremiah Lowery agrees, which is why he helped start a coalition to bring universal child care to D.C.

"Childcare will be the next big issue for 2016," Lowery says. "It's an issue that's very touching for a lot of parents, of every income level." Composed of legal advocates from Georgetown Law School, policy experts from the National Women's Law Center and ChildCare Aware, and, of course, parents, the Universal Childcare D.C. Coalition hopes to push legislation through the Council to design a proper universal child care system in the District.

Recently, Lowery says the coalition just finished surveying hundreds throughout the city as they conduct more research for a proper child care system to pitch to the Council. "The overwhelming response from the parents we surveyed in all wards from the city is that the childcare system is broken," he says.

The coalition is continuing to survey parents and, once they gather and analyze feedback, they plan to host policy feedback sessions with both child care centers and parents throughout the city. After that, they plan to draft legislation and work with the Council to push it through, with the ultimate goal of creating an "Office of Child Care Services" in the District, as well as "expand overnight child care coverage and provide grant funding for co-op child care centers."

So far, Lowery, who was previously a co-chair for the NAACP's Labor Committee, says that the coalition hasn't yet talked with any D.C. Councilmembers about their plans, but he expects that the Council will be mostly cooperative. President Barack Obama has talked a lot about making a priority and the Post says that Hillary Clinton will probably make it a key issue in her 2016 campaign.

"We don't expect too much opposition from this," Lowery says. "This isn't one of those contentious issues, like marijuana or minimum wage. This is something that a majority of people want."

-reprinted from DCist