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NEPAC's Impact in the Early Care and Education Sector: Part 3, Washington, D.C.

Written by LIIF Early Care and Education Team

In August 2022, LIIF launched a National Early Care and Education Practitioners Advisory Committee (NEPAC) as part of its efforts to center the voices of providers. The group comprises leaders in the early care and education (ECE) field who have successfully used LIIF grant funds in the past. Our aligned values are sustainability, equity, respect, dignity and change, and our NEPAC geographies served are New York City, California and Washington, D.C. 
These providers work daily to set up all children for success – no matter the ZIP code into which they are born. Via listening and learning circles, the collaborative ideates and shares best practices around issues running the gamut from policy to climate mitigation to co-location of child care in affordable housing developments. 

Below are highlights from NEPAC’s Washington, D.C. members, so you can learn about them, their capstone projects and their vision for their community. 

Member Profiles

Cassandra Nelson, D.C. Early Learning Collaborative
“Our communities need an equity-based approach to addressing the child care crisis. There is an urgent need to reflect on our policies to understand who is benefiting. And who is being left behind?”

Bio. Cassandra Nelson has nearly 30 years of providing high-quality, affordable child care services to children and families. With a successful track record of increasing enrollment in programs and opening new facilities to address her growing demand, she currently operates three locations and is actively seeking funding for a fourth. Nelson demonstrates her commitment to Washington, D.C.’s children and families through advocacy, philanthropy and serving as a Board member for the D.C. Early Learning Collaborative and the Ward 7 Business Partnership.

Capstone Project. The Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund was created to increase pay for eligible early childhood educators. Beginning in FY24, the funds were distributed to child care providers to increase pay for teachers and teacher assistants using a formula. Quickly, the community realized this well-intended policy overlooked directors and the formula hurts some small ECE businesses. Now, they are sounding the alarm. The coalition of D.C.-based ECE providers are currently advocating for a budget that maintains the Pay Equity Fund while ensuring a move toward a more equity-based expenditure to deploy funds where they are more equitably expended.

Cynthia Davis, Kings and Queens Child Care Center  
“Equity for all promotes inclusion, not exclusion.” 

Bio. Cynthia Davis is the founder and CEO of Kings and Queens Child Care Center. She worked as a contractor for the Department of Justice for 23 years and now as a Family Child Care Teacher for over 15 years. Davios received her bachelor’s in Human Development and master’s in Early Childhood Education. She is currently the Executive Director of the D.C. Family Child Care Association. Her mission is to advocate for equitable pay and resources while ensuring that the voices of home-based programs/family child care are heard and recognized for their dedication and contributions to early childhood education. 

Capstone Project. Davis builds advocacy tools with family child care teachers to strengthen relationships with local government officials, promoting a system of equal pay for everyone across Washington D.C. — and across the nation. Together with her community, she is a leader working to further improve, empower and encourage the growth of educators’ voices in numbers.


Along with recommendations from our NEPAC providers, LIIF recently released a series of reports to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education outlining current conditions, projected future conditions and policy recommendations. Washingtonians can advocate by urging the D.C. Council to fund child care facilities. 

Interested in learning more about NEPAC? Read our comprehensive report

Early Care and Education