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4/15/2016 Rep. Diaz celebrates fifth anniversary of Child Care Awareness Day at State House
STATE HOUSE —Legislators, child care providers, parents, policymakers and members of the public joined together in the State House to recognize their collaborative efforts during the Permanent Legislative Commission on Child Care’s (PLCCC) fifth annual Child Care Awareness Day.

Commission Chairwoman Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), a former child care provider, noted and was thankful for five years of commitment and community support to improve the lives of Rhode Island’s children. 

“The latest studies show how unaffordable child care is to families,” said Representative Diaz. “A family with a 3-year-old in a day care would need to earn $95,000 to keep child care affordable at 10 percent of a family’s budget. This commission began as a solution to help Rhode Island’s families in making sure their children are being looked after safely and affordably.  I am so proud of all the work that has been done by the commission, and I’m particularly proud that we’re marking five years of this Child Care Day to bring awareness of child care issues to the legislature and all Rhode Islanders.”

The commission was established by a joint resolution in 1989. Members meet monthly and advise the governor and the General Assembly on legislation and policies to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care in Rhode Island. The commission also reviews and discusses a wide range of early learning and out-of-school legislation and policies.

Each year, the commission puts together a special program to recognize the various organizations in the state that work to improve the lives of children and families.  This year, students from Lillian Feinstein School sang and Grupo Arcoiris of Rhode Island took part in a dancing performance during the festivities, while children from the Children’s Workshop of Rhode Island led the House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The commission honored Kimberly Pettaway, a child development supervisor at  honored were child care professionals Erin Murray, Maura Pearce, Altagracia Polanco and Khadija Lewis Khan.

Also in attendance at the celebration were Gov. Gina Raimondo, Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Commission Co-Chairwoman Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), Rep. Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist. 62, Pawtucket) and Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant.

The General Assembly is currently hearing several bills regarding child care assistance, including (2016-H 7236, 2016-S 2131), sponsored by Representative Diaz and Senator Crowley that would eliminate the termination of the child care subsidy transition program; (2016-H 7115, 2016-S 2130), sponsored by Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) that would make child care affordable for more working families by increasing the income eligibility limit for the Child Care Assistance Program; and (2016-H 7823, 2016-S 2574), sponsored by Representative Diaz and Senator Crowley that would enhance the reimbursement rates paid by the departments of Human Services and Children, Youth and Families for infants and toddlers enrolled in licensed child care centers and family child care homes that have achieved a quality rating of 2 to 5 stars in Bright Stars, the state’s quality rating system.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903