Across Rhode Island, family child care providers are providing high quality care and early learning each day to thousands of Rhode Island’s children. Quality child care is critical to children’s future success in school and in life. Children who have quality early learning and care from infancy start school ready to learn, continue their education longer, and have better lifetime outcomes.
Why is child care important to Rhode Island’s economic future?
Quality, affordable, accessible child care is a fundamental need for Rhode Island’s families and our state’s economy. Seventy percent of Rhode Island children under the age of six have both of their parents, or their parent, in the workforce and are in child care at least part time. An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that investments in early childhood education yield enormous returns to society and are an important economic development strategy.
Are parents able to locate affordable child care?
The number of children served by the state’s child care assistance program (CCAP), and the number of licensed family child care providers participating in the program, are half what they were in 2006. Thousands of Rhode Islanders are struggling to ensure that their children have access to quality learning opportunities while they are working – but economic instability, the exodus of experienced professionals from the child care field, and the lowest child care assistance eligibility level in New England has made it harder and harder for children to get the best start toward a lifetime of learning.
Why are family child care providers uniting for a voice with the state?
Family child care providers are joining together in SEIU 1199NE, RI’s Family Child Care Union. Our role as professional educators and caregivers gives us unique insight into how quality, access, and stability could be improved for children and families. But we have few opportunities to provide input on issues that shape the child care program and the way we carry out our profession, and we are not covered by any existing labor law, either public or private.
What has been the experience in other states?
Eight other legislatures—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, New Mexico, and New Jersey—have extended bargaining rights to family child care providers. In bargaining, providers have worked to raise quality, streamline parent paperwork, and reduce and eliminate waiting lists – ensuring that their states gained valuable feedback from frontline early educators.
Click here to join our movement to strengthen quality, affordable child care in Rhode Island today!
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