In May of 1990, a group of Mt. Washington families came together to share their vision of creating a childcare center for the community. The founding group included parents of young children, Pat Griffith, was elected as president of the board of directors and spearheaded the vision of having the baby-sitting co-op grow into a child care center. At the time, this had not been attempted by any parent group, so the Mount Washington founding group was setting an example for other parent groups with similar child care dilemmas. Everyone collaborated to develop policies and a philosophy for the agency, researched possible sites and created by-laws. The group filed incorporation papers and in May, 1991 became the Mt. Washington Preschool and Child Care Center, Inc.
The Center’s non-profit status was finalized in January of 1992. The group held a series of fund-raising events over several years. In June of 1993, the Mt. Washington Preschool and Child Care Center became a reality. It opened in the St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church at the foot of Mt. Washington and served the Mt. Washington and Highland Park communities. From its inception, the Center has counted on strong parent involvement and has been an active presence in the community.
In 1996, the Center left its space in the Church and moved to the campus of the Hathaway Family Resource Center. The move was accomplished with the help of two grants from the Parsons and Weingart Foundations and the assistance and volunteer labor of parents and community members as well as the participation of L.A. WORKS and the L.A. Conservation Corp. Altogether, nearly 3000 hours of volunteer time went in to the creation of the new site. Shortly after establishing its present site, the Center took Highlands Children’s Center as its facility name. Highlands Children's Center served children from 2-6 years old and operated an after-school program for children from local public schools. Hathaway required their space, so the center was closed Dec., 2004.
As part of a collaboration, MWPCCC participated in the First 5 School Readiness program. This program offered school readiness in five neighborhood elementary schools and guided parents, providers and children ages 0-5 in an introductory program to the school environment. The program also had a collection of books, toys, materials and a resource van readily available to family home day care providers and childcare programs that they served.
In 2001, MWPCCC was asked by the Child Care Director of the City of Los Angeles to take over management of the Joy Picus Child Development Center in City Hall South. MWPCCC assumed management of the Joy Picus Center in June, 2001. The Joy Picus Child Development Center served children from 6 weeks through 5 years. In July 2008, Para Los Niños assumed management of the center in place of MWPCCC until 2009 when MWPCCC took over management once more.
In April of 2002, after many years of negotiations and a lengthy renovation period, MWPCCC opened an Infant and Toddler Center in the Ziegler House, a historic estate located at 4601 N. Figueroa in Highland Park. In 2007, a preschool was added to the infant and toddler program. The program, now called La Casita Verde Child Development Center, currently serves children 6 weeks through 5 years from low income to moderate-income families in North East Los Angeles.
In 2003 MWPCCC took over the management of the Harry Pregerson Child Care Center. This center serves families employed by the federal government, and is located near the Civic Center in downtown Los Angeles. This center also serves children 6 weeks through 5 years of age.
MWPCCC is dedicated to providing high quality childcare and related services to the communities of North East Los Angeles and to serving low- and middle-income families. All three centers have specific childcare subsidies from federal and state programs for financial aid or may qualify for a MWPCCC Board Scholarship.