The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Division of Early Learning (DEL) awarded Southeast Children’s Fund (SCF) the DC LEAD program grant. This three-year grant aims to provide the current workforce with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to work with DC’s youngest learners and increase the number of high-quality early childhood professionals in the District. The program will provide ongoing, comprehensive support to the current early care and education (ECE) workforce that promotes professional development, staff retention and an expanding career in ECE.
The DC LEAD incentive program offers a financial incentive of up to $3,000, based on funding availability, to child care educators who are enrolled in a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential program or degree program to meet the OSSE minimum education requirements or already meet the minimum education requirements for their current position.
a. See Table 1 for minimum education requirements
Table 1: Minimum Education Requirements
|Position||Minimum Education Credential Required||Effective Date|
|Center Director||Bachelor’s degree (BA) in early childhood education (including early childhood development, elementary education or early special education) or a bachelor’s degree in any subject area with at least 15 semester credit hours in early childhood education.||December 2022|
|Teacher||Associate degree (AA) in early childhood education (or early childhood development, child and family studies or a closely related field) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 24 semester credit hours in early childhood.||December 2023|
|Assistant Teacher||Child Development Associate (CDA) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area.||December 2023|
|Expanded Home Caregiver||Associate degree in early childhood education (or early childhood development, child and family studies or a closely related field) or an associate degree (or higher) in any subject area with at least 24 semester credit hours in early childhood.||December 2023|
|Home Caregiver and Associate Home Caregiver||CDA||December 2023|
Child care educators can apply through the SCF website or complete a hard copy of the application. Hard copies of the DC LEAD application form will be distributed to child development facilities, DC Child Care Connections (DC CCC) service centers and partnering institutions of higher education (IHEs). Child care educators may also request a hard copy of the application via email at DCLEAD@sechildrensfund.org.
A child care educator employed in an eligible position in a child development facility licensed by OSSE. For more information of eligibility requirements, please visit the SCF website
Eligibility is determined on an individual basis for both the scholarship and incentive program. A child care educator interested in the DC LEAD scholarship who is found eligible for the incentive, may be eligible for the scholarship. Additional information on eligibility can be found here.
The following are not eligible:
The incentive payment will be distributed as up to two payments of $1,500 each, based on funding availability. Each approved participant will receive a total of up to $3,000, based on funding availability.
No, taxes will not be taken of the payment(s). Incentive recipients will be issued a 1099 tax document at the end of the year. Recipients will need to report the income when filing their state or federal taxes and may need to pay additional tax on these funds when filing their 2022/2023 taxes. Individuals who receive an incentive payment may wish to consult with an accountant or other tax expert, and/or to save a portion of funds received to cover potential future tax liabilities.
Yes, PKEEP teachers and assistant teachers who meet the minimum education requirements for PKEEP are eligible to receive the DC LEAD incentive.
Yes, teachers and assistant teachers in OSSE-licensed Montessori programs who meet the minimum education requirements or currently enrolled in a credential program or college/university working to meet the minimum education requirements are eligible to receive the DC LEAD incentive.
Eligible applicants will receive the first financial incentive six months after DC LEAD incentive application approval, completion of the DC LEAD incentive payment process and signed DC LEAD incentive agreement. All payments are contingent upon verification of continued employment as verified through the Division of Early Learning Licensing Tool (DELLT).
As specified in the DC LEAD incentive agreement, approved eligible applicants must remain employed with their current employer in order to receive incentive payments. Those who remain employed six months after approval will receive $1,500 and those who remain employed 12 months after approval will receive an additional $1,500 payment, contingent on the availability of funds.
Applicants will receive a decision letter via email and mail.
If you have questions about the DC LEAD program, please email DCLEAD@sechildrensfund.org.