To celebrate the Month of the Young Child, watch Stronger Start on DCTV:
Monday, April 22 – Friday, April 26 at 6 pm!

DCTV and the Bainum Family Foundation proudly present a groundbreaking original documentary series that tackles a critical topic for people in DC and beyond: How do we make the child care system work better for everyone?


What are your thoughts on the series? Take a quick survey to give us your feedback!



A new documentary series from DCTV

in partnership with the Bainum Family Foundation

Watch the Show
Contact us

Quality child care matters to all of us. But when it comes to discussions about making child care work better in DC, the people with the most at stake aren’t usually at the table.

That changes with the premiere of Stronger Start, an original docuseries from DCTV and the Bainum Family Foundation that brings together providers, advocates, local leaders, and families to build better, more accessible, and more affordable child care.

Washington, DC is a national leader on early childhood, but barriers to cost and access put quality child care out of reach for too many local families.

Providers, advocates, government officials, and families have more in common than divides them – but they rarely have the opportunity to explore solutions together. And, these conversations usually don’t engage the broader community.

Stronger Start sparks a conversation about access to and affordability of early child care in Washington, DC.

The new docuseries, produced by DCTV with support from the Bainum Family Foundation, makes it easy for families, early childhood administrators, government officials, and other stakeholders to come together, explore challenges, and find solutions. It’s about putting new ideas on the table and starting different conversations about child care. And it’s about bringing conversations, which usually happen behind closed doors, to the families with the most at stake.

Making quality child care more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable isn’t just important for parents – or for educators or government officials.

This problem affects our whole community, and we all have a stake in solving it. And bringing everyone together is the best way to help DC children, families, and our whole community to thrive.


Stronger Start airs on and DCTV cable channels!
You can also watch all of the episodes on-demand below, and at @YourDCTV on YouTube.

April 4 | Stronger Start Town Hall ▶️
Watch the introductory episode of Stronger Start: A community Town Hall hosted by Kojo Nnamdi! The panel discussion connects families, early childhood education professionals, and policymakers, who discuss the cost and life-changing potential of quality early care and education.

The introduction features a panel discussion about the state of child care in the District of Columbia with parents, educators, administrators and advocates. Moderated by Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU 88.5 public radio.

April 11 | Episode 1: The Big Picture ▶️
In this episode, we look at the challenges, solutions, and societal impact of early childhood education (ECE). We learn how D.C. became a leader in ECE for 3- and 4-year-olds…and how birth-to-3 got left behind.

April 18 | Episode 2: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions ▶️
In this episode, we spotlight unexpected experts: families, parents and guardians who have real-world, lived experience navigating the challenges of early childhood education and child care.

April 25 | Episode 3: A Look in the Rearview Mirror ▶️
This episode takes us through the history of early childhood education in Washington, D.C., and the parallel path of the United States through the eyes of child care providers like NCRC who have been on the front lines of ECE for almost a century. We explore how this history impacts us today while shining light on ECE milestones like Head Start, Universal Pre-K and D.C.’s Birth to Three Act.

May 2 | Episode 4: It Takes a Village ▶️
From home-based care to mid-size for-profit providers to the city’s largest child care provider, this episode explores the many challenges that come with being an ECE provider, especially in Washington, D.C. This is not a business for the faint of heart: margins are small, regulations are strict and the need often outweighs the openings. But it’s not all gloom and doom — for providers, the focus is the little ones…and that can often make up for the myriad daily speedbumps.

May 9 | Episode 5: The Future of Early Learning ▶️
The future, the innovators, the next phase of early childhood education. Where does the United States rank globally in terms of success with ECE, and why (spoiler alert) aren’t we first? In this episode, we look ahead and see who is doing well and why.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Five-part series explores critical challenges in early childhood education in the nation’s capital

Washington, DC – DCTV announced today the release of its first-ever original documentary series, “Stronger Start: Building Better Child Care.” The five-part series, produced in partnership with the Bainum Family Foundation, will address a topic that’s critical to families, employers and early childhood education professionals: making child care work better for everyone.

The in-depth series will premiere on DCTV in April as part of “Month of the Young Child.” From the perspective of families, providers, academics, advocates and local leaders across the District, the series explores the challenges facing the child care system in Washington, DC and raises essential questions about how to solve them.

A community town hall to be held Thursday, March 23, will bring together families, early childhood education professionals and policymakers for an engaging discussion on how to provide access to affordable, quality child care for all. The event will include a sneak peek at the series and will be broadcast in April as the introduction to the series. Kojo Nnamdi, the well-known host of multiple long-running radio shows on DC’s WAMU 88.5, will host the event and facilitate the discussion.

“We’re proud to share this documentary series on behalf of families and educators across DC and beyond,” said Nantz Rickard, CEO of DCTV. “We hope it sparks a national conversation about access and affordability of early child care.”

The town hall event will kick off an impact campaign that includes the television series, community outreach, and focus groups that continue the solution-oriented conversation.

The Bainum Family Foundation has supported the well-being of children and families in Washington, DC, and beyond since 1968. It has invested more than $40 million locally in early childhood supports, services and system improvements over the last seven years.

“Child care is a challenge not just in DC but across the country,” says David Daniels, CEO and President of the Bainum Family Foundation. “What we’ve learned is that the experts most proximate to the pain points are the ones most able to identify practical solutions. We are excited to partner with DCTV on this timely and important documentary series because it will help spur the critical conversation that needs to happen and energize the community to explore new solutions together.”

Washington, DC is celebrated for its pioneering approach to early childhood, having established the nation’s most comprehensive universal pre-kindergarten program in 2008. It is the only jurisdiction in the country with publicly funded pre-K that is free for all 3- and 4-year-olds. Yet other urgent needs remain, pushing the system here and nationwide to a crisis point. DC has an overall shortage of child care seats for infants and toddlers and the highest cost of care in the nation, affecting families across the District.

Research shows that universal access to affordable, quality child care improves social outcomes, community resilience, and benefits for life across socioeconomic backgrounds. For press inquiries and more information, please contact Brendan Bailes, DCTV’s Director of Community Engagement at

About DCTV: DCTV tells stories that matter to help our communities thrive. As Washington, DC’s 24/7 public media platform, we amplify local voices that represent the vibrant communities of our nation’s capital. We create original content and train individuals and nonprofit organizations to engage people through the power of meaningful storytelling. DCTV reimagines the role of media and sparks relevant, inclusive conversations to build a stronger DC.

About the Bainum Family Foundation: The Bainum Family Foundation is working to create a society where all children thrive. We work alongside communities experiencing racial and economic disparities to create lasting systems change for the well-being of children and families. Founded in 1968 by Stewart Sr. and Jane Bainum, the foundation today focuses on Early Childhood and what children need for a strong start in life. Our Legacy Programs support other issues important to the Bainum family. Visit us at