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Nancy Mace proposes legislation to streamline DC child care regulations

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) introduced a bill to help “repeal unnecessary regulation” and “give parents more affordable options” in the child care industry in Washington, D.C. The Childcare Worker Opportunity Act seeks to eliminate regulations requiring child care workers to possess a degree, certificate, or a minimum number of credit hours from a higher education […]

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) introduced a bill to help “repeal unnecessary regulation” and “give parents more affordable options” in the child care industry in Washington, D.C.

The Childcare Worker Opportunity Act seeks to eliminate regulations requiring child care workers to possess a degree, certificate, or a minimum number of credit hours from a higher education institution, set by the state superintendent of education.

Co-led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), they argue that this bill will help to create more job opportunities and affordability.


“D.C. has overregulated the childcare industry, much like everything else in this city,” said Mace in a statement

“Subsequently, they’ve left families with no options. Our bill with Senator Lee repeals this burdensome regulation, giving parents affordable childcare options and providing greater work opportunities for those who wish to care for children.”

In 2016, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a law requiring child care center directors to have a bachelor’s degree and teachers to hold an associate’s degree in early education. 

In addition, assistant teachers and caregivers in home-based day cares are required to obtain a Child Development Associate’s credential.

After years of legal trouble, the regulation took effect in 2023 following the dismissal of lawsuit challenges in 2022.

While supporters argue that this regulation helps professionalize the child care industry, opponents claim it is another barrier for otherwise qualified caregivers and drives up costs for child care.

According to a report from Tootris News and Education Center, Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive states for child care, with an average of $24,243 a year ($2,020 per month) in 2023. 

“Parents in D.C. are facing an uphill battle with childcare costs spiraling out of control, making it a privilege only the wealthy can afford,” said Lee in a statement. “The current regulations are not only impractical but also harmful, pushing skilled childcare workers out of their jobs.”

He also said that this new bill will bring “much-needed flexibility and affordability” to the system at a time when families need it most.

According to a recent survey by Under 3 DC, 57% of parents said the cost of early education would affect their ability to continue living in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) also supports this initiative. 

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“The shortage of common sense in Washington continues to make it harder and harder on American families,” Britt said in a statement. 

“For example, a completely unnecessary D.C. requirement for childcare workers to hold a college degree contributed to depleting the local childcare workforce. The result: less and less childcare options for parents at increasingly higher costs.”

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