Families can place a child on the HHS/ED Children’s Center waiting list as soon as they are expecting; a due date within the next nine months is required, and we ask that you call the Center after your child is born to provide us with a name, date of birth, and any change in the desired enrollment date.
All applications to the HHS/ED Children’s Center waiting list will be considered based on four specific pieces of information:
- whether the applicant has any siblings currently enrolled at the Center;
- what the agency affiliation is of the applicant’s parents (HHS, ED, other federal employee, federal contractor, or general public);
- the desired date of enrollment and the age of the applicant at the ultimate date of enrollment;
- the application submission date.
These pieces of information place applications into one of the waiting list priority categories utilized by the Center, and into an order within each category. The priority categories are:
- siblings of the children of employees of ED and HHS who are currently enrolled in the Center;
- children of employees of ED and HHS;
- siblings of the children of employees of other federal agencies and departments who are currently enrolled in the Center, and children of Center staff members;
- children of employees of other federal agencies and departments;
- siblings of children that are currently enrolled in the Center from the general public, including federal contractors;
- children of families of federal contractors;
- children of families from the general public.
Finally, there is one additional factor of importance in the prioritization of applications from employees of ED and HHS: the agency with less children in the Center at the time of the vacancy is given priority over the agency with more children in the Center. This means that when ordering applications within the ED and HHS priority categories, all the applications from the less-represented agency will come before the applications from the more-represented agency.
When a vacancy in the Center is anticipated, the staff will gather the applications of children of the appropriate age and with a desired enrollment date no more than two months beyond the anticipated date of the vacancy. These applications will be sorted into the above priority categories, and then will be further sorted within each category by the application submission date. Families will be contacted in this order to offer the space.
Spaces will be made available for enrollment on a specific date. If a family’s desired enrollment date is beyond the date that the space will become available, and that family is contacted to offer the space, then acceptance would entail starting to pay tuition on the date the space is available.
When the staff contacts a family about a vacancy, the family will be given two business days to respond to the offer with either an acceptance or a declination. If the family does not respond, this will be considered a declination. After a declination, the staff will move on to the next family on the list for that vacancy.
Families will be given the chance to decline an offered space once without affecting their application. If a family declines a space a second time, then the application will have its submission date changed to that of the date of the second declination; this effectively moves the application to the bottom of the waiting list for its priority category and desired enrollment date.
The wait for a spot in the Center varies by age, time of year, and a child's priority for enrollment. Our staff can tell you at any point in time roughly where your child is on the waiting list, and often can tell you how many openings can be expected in a given period of time. Families are encouraged to check in with the center as often as they wish to determine their placement on the waiting list.