Fact Sheet

Searching for Child Care in the Wake of the Pandemic

Experiences of Parents in the District of Columbia

In this fact sheet, we report findings from a 2022 survey and focus groups with parents and guardians in the District of Columbia to learn about their recent child care search experiences. We describe how parents looking for child care in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic faced unusual circumstances, as many programs operated with reduced hours, limited enrollment capacity, and safety protocols that prohibited in-person tours. Survey respondents were split on the ease of searching for care, with about half rating it “somewhat” or “very easy” and another half “somewhat” or “very hard.” When asked whether they felt there are “good choices” for child care and early education near their home, the majority of survey respondents (65 percent) said “yes,” though 22 percent disagreed and 13 percent said “I don’t know,” with some differences across District wards. Parents looking for infant care and those without a subsidy voucher were more likely to report difficulty finding affordable care.