Tag Archives: Children’s Trust

OLO Report: Pre-K in Montgomery County and Other Jurisdictions

Since before running for elected office, I’ve been a childcare advocate, consumer, and practitioner. I used to run a licensed family childcare business at my previous home in Wheaton. A few years after starting this, I founded a nonprofit called Centro Familia to help train other family childcare providers about opening licensed family child care business out of their homes. The need for affordable, quality childcare and early education far outpaces the supply in the County, and this remains a challenge. There is plenty of evidence that suggests being ready for kindergarten determines the trajectory of a student’s educational career and socioeconomic success. The most strategic and effective interventions occur at the earliest possible moment in a child’s academic life.

This morning, the Montgomery County MD Council’s Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee will meet jointly to review the findings of the Office of Legislative Oversight’s (OLO) report Pre-K in Montgomery County and Other Jurisdictions. In February, OLO released this report on Pre-K programs, benefits, best-practices and estimated costs to expand Pre-K in the County.

The joint committee will meet in the Seventh Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. This worksession is also televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM), which can be viewed on Cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast; Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon. It is also available live via streaming through the Council web site.

You can learn more about some of the County initiatives related to this topic below.

Councilmember Navarro on County’s Partnership with the Rales Foundation

Nancy Navarro on Comcast Newsmakers

Councilmember Nancy Navarro on the FY16 Budget


Statement from Councilmember Nancy Navarro on the Approval of the FY16 Operating Budget:

“This budget affirms our values. We are making important investments in Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and our social safety net.

This is a budget that truly puts young people first. We included $250,000 for the Children’s Opportunity Fund, which is an important first step toward creating a dedicated Children’s Trust. The Council voted to fund the newly created Child Care and Early Education Policy Officer and Child Care Strategic Plan, which was established as part of the Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative, which I sponsored. The Council added more than a half a million dollars to the County Executive’s recommended budget to provide child care subsidies to the lowest income families in our County. This budget expands the hours of operation for recreation centers in the mid- and east-county and will ensure that the Wheaton High School Wellness Center will open at the same time as the new Wheaton High School.

I’m pleased the Council decided to make a down-payment on fair elections by approving $1 million for the Public Campaign Election Fund. This landmark program will make Montgomery County a national model for public financing of elections. We are also making sure employees of County contractors are treated fairly by fully funding my recently passed legislation to strengthen the Living Wage Law’s reporting requirements.

The approved budget funds our priorities in a fiscally responsible way. We kept the property tax rate at the County’s Charter Limit, while fully funding our future pension, health care, and reserve obligations. We are restoring funding for libraries that was drastically cut during the recession and providing much-deserved compensation for our County employees, who made many sacrifices during the economic downturn. The tough decisions we have made will put Montgomery County in a favorable position to retain our Triple-A Bond Rating.”

Our Children, Our Future

Dear Friends,

For me, access to quality and affordable child care is personal.

About 20 years ago, my husband and I were raising our first daughter at our home in Wheaton. While he was starting his business, I was working full-time. Spending more time with my daughter was a priority, but financially there was no way I could quit my job and stay at home. One day, I decided to open a family child care business at my home. I prepared my home, took the required training, applied for and received the required state license, and started seeking clients. This allowed me to have an income, but more importantly it allowed me to prepare my daughter and the children in my care, to enter kindergarten “ready to learn.” Some of them even decided to acquire a second language and today are fully bilingual.
As I talked to more people about my new 

business, I realized there were many women in the community starting to care for children out of their homes. Many would care for several children without a license, compromising safety and quality. For some, the language barrier and confusing state bureaucracy in applying for a license was a hurdle that was difficult to overcome.

A few years after starting my business, I founded a nonprofit called Centro Familia to help train other family child care providers about the right way to start their business. We developed a state certified curriculum, provided the necessary technical assistance and mentoring necessary to pass the state licensing requirements. Once licensed, the participants would continue to receive support that ensured quality and best business practices. The most important outcome was school readiness for the children in their programs. I left Centro Familia in 2004 to join the Board of Education.During my tenure at the Board of Education, and since being elected to the County Council in 2009, I have made early childhood education and access to quality, affordable child care a priority. During every budget, I have fought to increase funding for child care subsidies for low-income families and have been a leader in working to expand pre-kindergarten opportunities for every Montgomery County family.In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed me to serve on the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. I serve on the Early Childhood Education Subcommittee on the Commission, where I work with Latino education leaders from around the nation.The only way we can meet demands of the 21st century job market is by investing in quality early childhood education. Research shows that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, there is a return of $2.50 to $17Not building this critical infrastructure of opportunity jeopardizes our nation’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain our competitive edge. The U.S. is already falling behind–ranking 25th in the world in early learning enrollment of 4-year-olds. By investing in the future of all our children we are making a commitment to the success of our country.

nancy in classroom

Next Steps

Long Term: Establishing a Children’s Trust Fund

During difficult economic times, early childhood education programs are often the first on the chopping block. While cutting programs may ease budget challenges in the near-term, these are short-sighted decisions that will have negative consequences on our future success and competitiveness.
Several jurisdictions, including Miami-DadeSan Francisco, and Los Angeles have a “Children’s Trust Fund” that provides resources for children and youth programming. While there are a variety of “Children’s Trust” models, the most successful programs dedicate a portion of tax revenue for children ages 0-17. I believe that it is important to explore the establishment of a Children’s Trust in Montgomery County. I plan to work with stakeholders in order to propose a Charter Amendment that would establish a Children’s Trust for Montgomery County. For example, this Trust could set aside a portion of the County General Fund Property Tax revenue each year. Establishing a trust ensures that even during the most challenging economic times, Montgomery County is committed to funding the most essential services to give our children a great start.

Short Term: Reforming Child Care Services

Before we can establish a dedicated funding source for programs serving youth, we need to establish an infrastructure that will help make sure those funds go where they are needed most. That’s why during this year’s budget, I plan to work collaboratively with the County Executive to establish a Children’s Opportunity Fund. This Fund, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the County Government, will be used to hire a Fund Coordinator and a researcher that will study the outcomes of youth programs. The Fund will also help us pay for new initiatives targeted at supporting services for children and teenagers.

nancy with girlsWe need wholesale reform of how Montgomery County ensures that every family has access to high-quality, affordable child care. I am working with my colleagues on legislation creating a Child Care and Early Education Officer within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

I am also introducing legislation that will create a Child Care Expansion and Quality Enhancement Initiative. This Initiative would require County Government to do much of the work I did while at Centro Familia. HHS staff would be responsible for:

  • Educating prospective family child care providers on steps necessary to become licensed by the State;
  • Providing technical assistance and business training to family child care providers;
  • If requested, conducting a site-visit for potential family child care providers to provide feedback and assistance to obtain state licensing;
  • Providing services in languages other than English, in a culturally competent manner; and
  • Conducting an annual assessment of child care needs in the County and preparing an annual report.

Closing the academic achievement gap and making sure every student is prepared to learn on their first day of school is the socioeconomic imperative of our time. Every child deserves a chance to succeed and that cannot happen without access to quality, affordable child care for all. It won’t be easy to accomplish this goal, but with your help and support we will ensure every child can have a strong and bright future.


Nancy Navarro
Councilmember, District 4