DC

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DC Parents, Don’t Miss the Sing, Talk & Read (STAR) Family Festival!
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Why is Finding Daycare in Washington DC So Difficult?
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CareLuLu Giveaway: Free Tix to the Best Kid Consignment Sale in DC
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CareLuLu Highlights its Verified Child Care Providers
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CareLuLu on Live TV!

DC Parents, Don’t Miss the Sing, Talk & Read (STAR) Family Festival!

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On Saturday, September 13, round up your kids and visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for a day of family fun, food, prizes and most importantly, free resources!

The Sing, Talk & Read (STAR) Family Festival, which will be held at 901 G St. NW, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is part of DC Public Library’s Sing, Talk & Read DC Campaign, which encourages parents to play an active role in their child’s early education by singing, talking and reading to their babies and very young children.

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Why is Finding Daycare in Washington DC So Difficult?

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Any parent who has looked for a daycare in Washington DC can relate to the frustration of year-long waitlists. Child care costs are astounding here (DC wins the trophy of the most expensive place for child care). Yet, finding daycare in Washington DC is darn hard. Why!? We’ve been asked this question a number of times while building CareLuLu, a website to help parents find a great daycare or preschool. So, we decided to discuss it in this post.

1. There is no actual shortage of child care slots in Washington DC.

This may come as a surprise, but there are in fact just as many openings in daycare centers and in-home daycares as there are children needing care. According to Child Care Aware of America, there are 24,770 spaces in DC for 24,552 children under the age of 6 potentially needing child care (2012 numbers.) Almost a perfect match! However…

2. Child care centers are not always located in areas where there’s demand.

In highly concentrated urban areas, especially where rent is high, there are fewer child care providers because of greater operation costs. Well, DC definitely falls into the high rent category! However, certain neighborhoods have more demand than others. If you’re willing to drive a few miles (or dare I say it, cross the bridge into Virginia!), you may get lucky.

3. Not all daycares have waitlists, just the ones you’ve heard of.

Parents hear about the same daycares and preschools over and over again. This can be because they really are fantastic. Or, because they do a great job with PR and marketing. Since everyone knows them, they tend to have waitlists. There are, however, other fantastic options with openings. They just don’t have the means or know-how to market themselves as effectively.

4. As parents, we contribute to the illusion that there are waitlists everywhere.

In highly urban areas like DC, parents tend to “play it safe” by putting their kids on several child care centers’ waitlists. You know, just so we can have a choice. Or at least make sure that we’ll get a spot somewhere. This is understandable (especially if you have no backup plan), but it creates the illusion that there are no openings anywhere.

5. Alright, finding daycare in Washington DC is actually a bit harder than in other places!

While it’s true there are as many openings as there are children needing care in DC, it’s also true that in other States (like VA or MD), there are more spots available than there is demand. So why is there a more balanced supply/demand in DC? Higher rent is one reason as described earlier but there are other potential reasons. For instance, DC is one of the few places in the country that offers free universal preschool. I’m not saying that people move to DC for that reason, but it can play a role. It did for this mom.

So while it can be harder to find a daycare or preschool in DC than in other places, there are actually enough openings to accommodate all the parents looking for care. You may need to drive a few miles or look for a home-based daycare if centers are full, but you should find a spot.

Oh, and of course, CareLuLu is a free resource that can help you find that perfect daycare!

CareLuLu Giveaway: Free Tix to the Best Kid Consignment Sale in DC

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areLuLu is raffling off 2 presale tickets to the best consignment sale in the Washington DC metro area and one of the best 10 in the country, Just Between Friends (JBF) in Loudoun County! JBF is an excellent opportunity to stock up on fall and winter kid clothes, kid furnishings, toys, books, games, puzzles, arts & crafts selling at 50-90% off! Two lucky winners will receive 1 free ticket to the presale that will take place on Friday, September 20th 6pm-9pm ($20 value). Presale tickets will give you early access to find the best deals and items before the crowds arrive on the weekend. Tickets may also be used for free admission on Saturday.

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CareLuLu Highlights its Verified Child Care Providers

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CareLuLu now has one hundred child care providers from the DC area listed on our site! All of these daycares and preschools are licensed and meet State or County standards. Many of them exceed those requirements!

For those child care providers that agree to let CareLuLu staff visit their facilities, we created the Verified seal of approval. These Verified providers undergo a much longer and more thorough review process answering over 100 of our questions. For these Verified providers, CareLuLu visits in person to take high-quality, real-world photos. Their profiles feature more detailed information to give parents the most up to date and complete overview. They include verified and in-depth reviews, which are written based on the feedback we receive from child care providers, parents whose children attend (or have attended) that specific center, and our staff that visits the facilities.

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CareLuLu on Live TV!

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e are very excited to announce that Jen and Patrick, founders of CareLuLu, were on Let’s Talk Live on NewsChannel 8 today, Tuesday, August 6th at 11:30am. They were invited to the show to present CareLuLu, a free online resource they created to help parents find safe, affordable, and high-quality child care. The video will be coming soon! In the meantime, check out our facebook page for more photos from today’s segment. We’d also love to hear your feedback on our site and see how we can improve our service to you!