Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–401. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) The term "child" means an individual between 3 and 15 years of age.

(1A) The term “Child Development Associate credential” means a credential recognized by the Council for Professional Recognition and accepted by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to demonstrate competency as a caregiver for young children.

(2) The term “child development center” means a child development facility for more than 5 children which provides a full day (more than 4 but less than 24 hours per day), part day (up to 4 hours per day) or before and after school child development program, including such programs provided during school vacations.

(3) The term “child development home” means a private residence which provides a child development program for up to a total of 6 children with a ratio of one adult caregiver to 2 children if there are 2 or more children younger than 2 years of age in the group; provided, that each adult caregiver possesses a post-secondary degree in early childhood education or a related field as determined by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, hold a current Child Development Associate (“CDA”) credential, is enrolled in a CDA training program, or can provide evidence of enrollment in a CDA training program that will begin within 6 months of the first day of the adult caregiver’s work with children at the child development home. The total of 6 children shall not include those of the caregiver who are 6 years or older; provided, that the total number of children of the caregiver between the ages of 6 and 15 years shall not exceed 3, and of those 3 children, no more than 2 shall be age 10 years or younger. A child development home shall also include care given to a child by a caregiver related to the child. For the purpose of this paragraph, the term “related” means any of the following relationships by marriage, blood, or adoption: Grandparent, parent, brother, sister, step-sister, step-brother, uncle, or aunt.

(3A) The term “children of families who are at-risk” means children living in low-income working families with limited community and family resources or services available to them, such that they are at-risk of becoming dependent upon assistance from the TANF program.

(3B) The term "concentrated poverty" means an area in which 40% or more of a census tract population lives below the federal poverty level, as updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act, approved October 27, 1998 (112 Stat. 2729; 42 U.S.C. § 9902(2)).

(3C) The term "cost modeling analysis" means the methodology for determining the likely cost of delivering services and reimbursement rates to achieve financial solvency at each level of the District's current Quality Rating and Improvement system.

(3D) The term "cost of care" means the daily per-child dollar amount necessary for a child development facility to deliver services to maintain financial solvency at each level of the District's current Quality Rating and Improvement system.

(4) The term “Department” means the Executive Office of the Mayor or the Mayor’s designee.

(4A) The term "infant" means an individual younger than 12 months of age.

(5) The term “in-home care” means a child care program provided in a child’s home by an in-home caregiver pursuant to § 4-411.

(5A) The term "parity" means compensation for an individual that includes compensation equivalent to the average base salary and fringe benefits of an elementary school teacher employed by District of Columbia Public Schools with the equivalent role, credentials, and experience.

(5B) The term "Quality Rating Improvement System" or "QRIS" means the method utilized by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to assess the level of quality of child care provided by a child development facility.

(5C) The term “TANF” means the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families as defined in § 4-201.01.

(6) The term “termination of employment” means loss of employment by a parent resulting from a reduction in force, or in the case of private employment, a layoff or reduction in personnel due to budgetary constraints of the employer.

(7) The term "toddler" means an individual between 12 months of age and 36 months of age.

(8) The term "vulnerable child" means:

(A) A child with documented special needs;

(B) A child experiencing homelessness;

(C) A child in foster care;

(D) A child receiving or needing to receive protective services;

(E) A child of a parent with disabilities, either medical, psychological, or psychiatric in nature, that prevents them from performing a substantial amount of work; or

(F) A child of a parent receiving vocational rehabilitation services.


(Sept. 19, 1979, D.C. Law 3-16, § 2, 26 DCR 20; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-163, § 2(a), 29 DCR 3974; Apr. 13, 1999, D.C. Law 12-216, § 2(a), 46 DCR 281; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 4006, 55 DCR 7598; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 4022, 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 17, 2014, D.C. Law 20-149, § 2, 61 DCR 8316; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-179, § 201(a), 65 DCR 9569.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-301.

1973 Ed., § 3-301.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-661.01, § 7-2001, § 47-1807.06, and § 47-2751.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-219 rewrote par. (4), which had read as follows: “(4) The term ‘Department’ means the District of Columbia Department of Human Services.”

D.C. Law 19-21 rewrote par. (3), which formerly read:

“(3) The term ‘child development home’ means a private residence which provides a child development program for up to a total of 5 children with no more than 2 children younger than 2 years of age in the group. The total of 5 children shall not include those of the caregiver who are 6 years or older: Except, that the total number of children of the caregiver between the ages of 6 and 15 shall not exceed 3, and of those 3 children, no more than 2 shall be age 10 or younger. A child development home shall also include care given to a child by a caregiver related to the child. For the purpose of this paragraph, ‘related’ means any of the following relationships by marriage, blood, or adoption: Grandparent, brother, sister, step-sister, step-brother, uncle, and aunt.”

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-149 added (1A); and substituted “a ratio of one adult caregiver to 2 children if there are 2 or more children younger than 2 years of age in the group; provided, that each adult caregiver possesses a post-secondary degree in early childhood education or a related field as determined by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, hold a current Child Development Associate (“CDA”) credential, is enrolled in a CDA training program, or can provide evidence of enrollment in a CDA training program that will begin within 6 months of the first day of the adult caregiver’s work with children at the child development home” for “no more than 2 children younger than 2 years of age in the group” in the first sentence of (3).

Cross References

Fees relating to certificates of occupancy, see § 6-661.01.

License requirements, regulation, modification, or elimination of by Council of the District of Columbia, see § 47-2842.

Special public safety fee, “feepayer” defined, see § 47-2751.

Taxes, tax credit, income including rent charged to licensed, nonprofit child development center, see § 47-1807.06.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Day Care Policy Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-207, December 15, 1997, 44 DCR 353). Section 3 of D.C. Act 12-207 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provision of the act.

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Day Care Policy Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-509, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 8146), and § 2(a) of the Day Care Policy Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-12, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2330).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Child Development Home License Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-318, Apr. 28, 2014, 61 DCR 4667).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Day Care Policy Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-72, March 20, 1998, law notification 45 DCR 2107).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Child Development Home License Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-119, July 1, 2014, 61 DCR 5196).

Short Title

Short title: Section 4005 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle C of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Childcare Funding Support Amendment Act of 2008”.

Short title: Section 4021 of D.C. Law 19-21 provided that subtitle C of title IV of the act may be cited as “Day Care Policy Amendment Act of 2011”.

Transfer of Functions

The Department of Human Resources was replaced by the Department of Human Services by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1979, dated February 21, 1980.

Delegation of Authority

Appointment as Lead Agency and Delegation of Mayor’s Authority to Administer the Day Care Policy Act of 1979 to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, see Mayor’s Order 2009-3, January 15, 2009 ( 56 DCR 2017).