Mayor-elect Vincent Gray says almost 14,000 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in publicly funded preschool and pre-K programs in D.C. Now he says it's time to turn attention to children who are even younger.
Gray says the foundation has been laid for pre-K and preschool programs. He says expanding programs for infants and toddlers -- or 6-month through 3-year-olds -- is the next step.
"There are so many of our families that are economically and socially challenged, who have difficult circumstances they deal with every day, whose children could really benefit from even earlier intervention," Gray says.
He acknowledges this will be "difficult" because of budgetary challenges. But he says there will be savings by reducing the number of children in private special education programs. He says they will also look for federal and private funding sources.
Gray says expanding the programs will help with prevention and intervention efforts as well as create opportunities to work with the parents of these children. Gray says there is no timetable set as yet.