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Child Care Counts: Help That Changes Everything!

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Debbie of Child Care Counts (lf), with Adriana and infant Kairo
Debbie Brown of Child Care Counts (lf), with Adriana and infant Kairo

While childcare costs many Americans more than their monthly rent or mortgage payments, parents struggle to obtain high-quality childcare that gives them the freedom and peace of mind to work and provide for their families. This is not a new problem but one that has been exacerbated by employment and economic challenges in recent years.

Thankfully, Child Care Counts is on a mission to help working families in the Washington DC area afford safe, reliable childcare. This organization, founded by Debbie Brown in 2016, bridges the gap for local families who don’t qualify for government support but don’t earn enough to pay the high cost of full-time care.

"I saw that single moms really struggled and were being punished, fairly or unfairly, for missing days from work; but they didn't have a choice because they couldn't find affordable childcare." When her friend and coworker Sheila found herself in the same situation, Debbie and other teammates got involved to help out in any way they could. Debbie personally took on the task of helping Sheila find affordable childcare. That experience gave Debbie deeper insight into the problem that seems to penalize working families by making them ineligible for childcare subsidies despite their income not being enough to cover the costs of family living and consistent, high-quality childcare.

Debbie got busy learning more about the childcare industry, costs and subsidies, and other forms of support available. She found that none in the DC area provided funding to families caught in the middle that would help them afford care until their children are elementary age. So, with the help of some friends and partners, she started Child Care Counts.

Child Care Counts provides such funding for children from infancy to kindergarten (or as long as needed) for up to 10 families per year. Additionally, they offer a small short-term emergency fund program for families from moderate to low income that can obtain a 4-month 100% tuition grant.

This kind of support has such a big impact on employers like Jubilee JumpStart too! Adriana's story illustrates how.

It changes everything! It means so much having one less thing to worry about.”

- Adriana Kirby, JJS Lead Pre-K Teacher and mother of Kairo (Hummingbirds Infant class)

Adriana is the Lead Pre-K teacher, mother of JJS Hummingbird (infants) Kairo, and a Jubilee JumpStart employee of six years. While she earns a salary on par with the local pay standards, her income is out of range for qualifying for tuition subsidy but not enough to cover household expenses, unanticipated personal costs, and Kairo’s tuition. Though Adriana was able to get short-term funding through Child Care Counts that helped her enroll Kairo in childcare as an infant, she still worried about what would happen when that support ran out.

That changed last month when Adriana was awarded a scholarship from Child Care Counts that will cover Kairo’s tuition until he is eligible for universal Pre-k or kindergarten. In Adriana's words, "This is a blessing! It changes everything. Knowing that I have help with the cost of Kairo's education in his early years is nothing but amazing. It means so much having one less thing to worry about."

We couldn’t agree more!

What does this gift from Child Care Counts mean to us?

  • It means Adriana has one less worry allowing her to focus on her health, family, and the work that she loves.

  • It means Kairo can continue to thrive receiving the care and attention that fills him with so much joy.

  • It means that Jubilee JumpStart and its 16 Pre-K children and families don’t have to worry about losing their wonderfully awesome, highly-qualified Pre-K Teacher.

Basically, it means everything!

Thank you DC Child Care Counts!

Adriana (l) teachers her students a song during a visit to a community garden.

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