I am a licensed family child care provider located in Exeter, Rhode Island. Actually if you check the DCYF website I am the only licensed family child care provider in Exeter. There are three licensed centers, but I am the only one in Exeter who offers parents the option of a home child care setting.
As a licensed family child care provider I have encountered times that were exceptionally good and times, such as now, that are exceptionally bad. During the past eight months my enrollment has gone down due to parents losing their income as well as some single parents losing their DHS status, either because they lost their jobs or they made a fraction too much and no longer qualify. This forces them to find alternate care, with family members or who knows where. This is devastating to the children who have their education interrupted, and it hurts the parents who struggle to find a safe place for their kids. And as a self-employed family provider, I struggle to keep my doors open when my enrollment drops.
I love what I do and love the children I teach. I had previously spent 22 years as an IT specialist, but chose to educate young children because I love the work so much. But because times are so difficult, I may be forced to give up what I had spent 13 years building up. Without the help and support outlined in a proposed law, the Quality Family Child Care Act, I may be forced to close. I am certified by RI Early Learning Standards. The ones that will be hurt if I shut my doors are the children who desperately need to meet all the standards to enter kindergarten. If we want to achieve “Race to the Top” we need to make sure our children have the proper start.