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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Child Care and Preschool

Child care and preschool options have become important considerations for many Foreign and Civil Service families. Diplotots and the FSI Child Care Center are used frequently by State Department families, but they often have a long wait list. Below is a list of resources for child care and preschools in the DC area and at post.

Please note – Currently, there is no education allowance available for child care or preschool at post or in the U.S.

Child Care Resources in the Washington, DC Area

  • Information Quest – (formerly LifeCare) Information Quest is the Department of State's information, resource, and referral service for dependent care, personal health and well-being. Information Quest will conduct searches for you tailored to fit your needs. 866-552-4748 or 800-873-1322 (check with your HR point of contact for user name and password information)
  • Emergency Backup Care - When child care plans fall through, try Information Quest's Emergency Backup Care program. This service helps secure - and pay for - backup care when regular care plans are disrupted. Those posted overseas can use the backup care program for family members that are with them at post. Emergency Backup Care will reimburse the cost of care (up to $100) if friends or family members or a child care center is used (for State Department employees only).

  • FSI Child Care Center – This facility is located on the grounds of the National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia and has space for 25 children between the ages of six weeks to five years. Please note that you must be enrolled in a class at FSI to be placed on the wait list.
  • Diplotots - Located at Columbia Plaza near the Harry S Truman building (Main State) and offers day care for children ages six weeks through kindergarten.
  • Diplotots, TooThe State Department’s child development center located in the SA-17 building at the corner of 19 and F Streets NW. It offers children both interior and exterior play space as well as fun and educational classroom environments. Ages 6 weeks through kindergarten.  

  • Foreign Service Institute Transition Center (FSITC) - Maintains a list of child care facilities and pre-schools near the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Email to request a current list.
  • Yahoo Group for Foreign Service Parents - For input from other Foreign Service families about their child care choices, you may want to join the FS Parent Yahoo Group sponsored by the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW). To subscribe please emai:
  • Our - has links to child care information for Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
  • - helps families find child care, senior care, special needs care, tutoring and pet care.

Preschool Resources

  • Livelines Yahoo Group - A forum for family members connected with U.S. diplomatic missions abroad and in the U.S. to ask advice, find babysitters and share experiences. It is sponsored by the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) and you must be a member to join. To subscribe:
  • The National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) - Provides a search option to help you locate preschools within a 5-15 mile radius of your zip code.
  • - has an extensive list of preschools for Maryland, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia

Child Care at Post

  • Overseas Child Care Report – The availability of child care centers overseas varies greatly, as does the quality and cost of caregivers in the home. The Community Liaison Office Coordinator provides an updated Overseas Child Care Report annually. Follow these links to locate the report: Bureau of Human Resources (HR Portal) > Workforce > Family Services > Overseas Childcare Reports. If there is not a child care report listed for your post, please contact the CLO by emailing them at (For example:
  • Office of Overseas Schools – The Office of Overseas Schools provides a list of at-post schools which may have Pre-K programs available. You can search for schools here or contact the Office of Overseas Schools at


Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office


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