Rep. Diaz, Sen. Crowley launch quality child care campaign, introduce tiered-rate legislation
STATE HOUSE — A large coalition of advocates, child care providers and parents joined with Rep. Grace Diaz (D – Dist. 11, Providence) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) to announce their campaign for quality child care at the State House Library Wednesday afternoon.
The legislators announced their introduction of bills to improve reimbursement rates for child care providers based on quality.
“The Rhode Island Child Care Assistance Program helps low-income working families pay for child care,” said Representative Diaz. “But the current child care assistance rates in Rhode Island are just too low to ensure equal access to high-quality child care. And we know that early learning is the most critical time in brain development. The quality of the education they receive at that age is something that will stay with them through life.”
The legislation (2018-H 7148, 2018-S 2120) would increase CCAP rates and establish a tiered reimbursement rate structure for all age groups (infants – age 12). All child care providers would receive an increase with larger increases for higher quality programs.
“Rhode Island has the lowest payment rates in New England and pays well below the market rate,” said Senator Crowley. “This legislation ensures that providers meeting high-quality standards will be paid at or above the federally recommended benchmark, which will help programs to attract and retain more qualified and effective educators.”
Courtney Hawkins, Director of the Department of Human Services, highlighted Article 15 of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposed FY19 budget which would establish a tiered child care reimbursement rate structure for infants and toddlers (children under age 3).
Two parents of young children who use child care, Osmary Rodriquez Barker and Jessica Tibbets, spoke about why quality child care is important to their families – both so they can go to work and so their children have access to important early learning opportunities. They both urged legislators to support the governor’s proposal and the introduced legislation.
The Campaign for Quality Child Care is jointly coordinated by RI KIDS Count, the Economic Progress Institute and the RI Association for the Education of Young Children.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903