Fact Sheet

Capital Quality Offers Opportunities for Professional Development and Peer Learning: Insights from Child Care Providers in the District of Columbia

Child care quality matters for young children’s learning and development and for parents engaged in work and school activities. Families depend on finding safe, stable, and stimulating care that can meet their needs. To increase the quality of its licensed child care programs, the District of Columbia implemented a new quality rating and improvement system, Capital Quality, District wide in 2018.

Capital Quality offers various professional development supports to directors of child care facilities and family child care providers. To understand child care providers’ perspectives on Capital Quality, a research team at the Urban Institute conducted qualitative phone interviews with 36 child care providers and collected survey data from a subsample of these study participants. The providers shared perspectives about different aspects of Capital Quality, including their thoughts about the professional development and peer learning opportunities they had engaged in.

Key findings:

  • Most child care providers in our study reported improving the quality of their programs as a top reason for participating in Capital Quality.
  • Many providers in our study said they believe Capital Quality is important for achieving program quality-improvement goals.
  • A sizable share (about 40 percent) of providers said participation in Capital Quality is important for their own professional development.
  • Participating child care providers reported applying what they gained from peer learning and professional development opportunities to their programs. Several noted they enhanced their family engagement practices, used curricula to support child growth and development, and used screenings to identify opportunities for early intervention.