Expanded Quality Improvement Network to Provide 94 More High-Quality Early Learning Seats in D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8

Bethesda, Maryland (July 5, 2018) — The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Division of Early Learning and the Bainum Family Foundation today announced the locally funded expansion of the District of Columbia’s Quality Improvement Network (QIN), an innovative effort established in 2015 to expand adoption of Early Head Start quality standards for infant and toddler early care and education.

The QIN currently operates in 14 child development centers and 14 child development homes serving more than 440 children in the District. The initial five-year phase was funded through an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start and locally appropriated funding.

Now, new investments from OSSE ($10 million in subsidized child care over five years) and the Foundation ($2.3 million over five years) will expand the QIN to include three more centers for a total of 94 additional high-quality early learning seats in Wards 7 and 8. The additional QIN-supported centers are National Children’s Center (62 seats), House of Ruth Kidspace Child and Family Development Center (16 seats) and Kids Are People Too Child Development Center (16 seats).

Altogether, the Foundation has invested upwards of $20 million over the past three years to improve early childhood in the District, supporting a range of initiatives in early learning, school mental health and food security.

“This unique public and private partnership between OSSE and the Bainum Family Foundation is creating comprehensive, nurturing early learning environments for the District’s youngest and most vulnerable residents,” says Elizabeth Groginsky, OSSE Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning. “Over the past two years, the QIN has helped increase the capacity of early learning providers and improve access for families to high-quality infant and toddler care. This expansion will allow us to have an even greater impact across the District.”

Early learning partners in the QIN receive a range of support and services, including:

  • Job-embedded professional development in the form of coaching and staff development
  • Comprehensive child development and family supports (including health, nutritional and behavioral health services and early intervention) to enhance the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of participating children
  • A family engagement specialist who supports parent leadership and engagement and connects families with needed services and supports

The QIN is led by OSSE with support from the Bainum Family Foundation and two hub organizations: UPO, which support child development centers in the QIN, and Mary’s Center, which supports child development homes in the QIN. UPO will support House of Ruth, Kids are People Too and National Children’s Center.

“QIN services are designed to help providers implement an evidence-based Early Head Start model while developing staff knowledge and skills and enhancing the ability of families to set and reach their own goals,” says Terra Bonds Clark, Senior Director of Early Learning for the Foundation. “The hub partners have extensive experience in delivering high-quality early learning, and the QIN enables them to share this expertise with other providers in a very streamlined and thorough way.”

National Children’s Center (NCC) is one of the region’s largest nongovernmental providers of services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities offering an array of services to infants, children and adults. NCC will add 62 high-quality seats for infants and toddlers at its Early Learning and Early Intervention Center in Ward 8. Keesha Blythe, EdD, Executive Director, explains what inclusion in the QIN means for NCC. “Becoming part of the QIN affords NCC the opportunity to improve the overall trajectory of our children and their families,” she says. “NCC is excited to provide an enriched environment with the components of a two-generation approach that promotes the needs of the children and their parents.”

Full implementation of services and supports for the three new QIN partners began May 1, 2018.

“Our investments in the QIN are part of a broader effort by our Foundation to improve early childhood in the District of Columbia,” says Barbara Bainum, Chair of the Board, CEO and President of the Foundation. “We want all children in the District to thrive. If we give children what they need from the very beginning of their lives, they will have a better chance of success in school in life.”


The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in early learning, wrap-around services and knowledge building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, the Foundation has helped underserved children exit poverty through high-quality educational programs and services for 50 years. For more information, visit bainumfdn.org.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is the State Education Agency for the District of Columbia charged with raising the quality of education for all DC residents. OSSE’s Division of Early Learning provides leadership and coordination to ensure that all District children, from birth to kindergarten entrance, have access to high-quality early childhood development programs and are well prepared for school. Learn more at https://osse.dc.gov/.



Ann Egan
Senior Director of Communications
Bainum Family Foundation

Fred Lewis