Who We Are

Rhode Island family child care providers are dedicated to providing reliable, affordable, quality childcare. However, those who participate in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) currently have no way to work together with the State to make improvements to that struggling program. Providers want Rhode Island to join the growing list of states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, and New Mexico, where family child care providers have a voice and the ability to make real improvements.

Read some of our stories below — or to contribute your own, click here.

Nuris Ynoa, Providence: Committed to Quality Care

BEST Nuris Ynoa - Providence (45)Family child care providers are truly committed to quality care. That’s why many of us are participating in the BrightStars program and why we’re joining together to improve child care.

By uniting providers in a union across the state, we’ll make sure that the state continues to support quality improvements with the training we want and need.

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Ann Garrison, North Kingstown: Striving to Improve Quality

Ann Garrison, North KingstownI have been providing child care for about 30 years. I was a teacher in a school before that, and I worked in a child care center before starting my own family child care business. We’ve made a lot of improvements in quality in that time, and we need to continue moving forward.

The state needs to work with us to ensure that we have the resources to provide kids with they early learning they deserve. That’s why we’re forming a union.

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Jean Bento, Tiverton: Better Communication with DHS, More Access to Training

Jean Bento I’ve been a child care provider since 1973, 40 years now! I’m still amazed every day by children’s curiosity, by the way they learn through play, and I’m grateful I’ve been able to prepare so many children for school and for life.

To keep child care strong we need to improve communication with the state and advocate for more trainings especially in the evenings. That’s why I support forming a union with my fellow child care providers.

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Susan Tabishesky, Warwick: With a Union Our Hard Work Will Be Recognized

SusanI support forming a union with my fellow child care providers because we all work hard with the children in our care, and work with parents who are having a hard time affording quality child care. I get children ready for school. We do circle time every day and teach them colors, letters, shapes, and numbers. We sing songs and do arts & craft projects. I teach them manners, get them potty trained, and a whole lot more. We need to be recognized for the quality care we provide.

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Brenda Carnevale, Exeter: We Must Provide Children With the Right Start

Brenda CarnevaleI 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.

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Dawn Newman, Cumberland: Early Childhood Educators Help Families

DawnNewmanI have been a child care provider in Cumberland, RI for 18 years. I’ve seen many children enter my care as infants and leave as young people, ready for kindergarten and beyond.  From the time they are babies to the day they leave me, we are actively engaged in learning all day long. The children in my care learn to read and write, they learn their colors, they can count and do math. They learn manners, teamwork, and respect.

I love what I do and my job is a total blast because, in my heart I know that these kids are our future. I am playing an important part in giving them the right start.

I also know that I’m playing a role in their family’s success. Parents need access to reliable, affordable, quality child care for their children. Without it, their families can’t thrive.Family childcare, in which licensed child care workers like me provide early learning and child care service in our home, allows parents to work while their children are in a healthy educational environment.

I am proud of what I do and I know the children and parents that I work with value what I do.  But this job is tough. I work days, evenings, and weekends so my parents can go to work. In what little free time I do have, I get the curriculum ready for the week ahead. I deal with all the issues any small business owner needs to deal with, from accounting to advertising.

Parents need help in this economy. Kids learn and grow with quality child care, but too many people are struggling to afford it. Child Care Providers need a voice so that all kids can be prepared for their futures.

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Phyllis Neilsen, Wakefield: We Need a Voice to Fix Rhode Island’s Child Care Program

The child care system in Rhode Island is broken.

One of my children just started Kindergarten; his younger brother is still in my care. The older boy goes to a center before and after school most of the time, but when there’s no school I care for him.

During Hurricane Sandy, his center and his school were closed for a few days. The mom still had to go to work, so I cared for both children. But because the older boy is enrolled before and after school at a center, DHS didn’t pay me while I cared for him. The mother is a very hard worker and never misses a day of work; she’s the very kind of person this system was designed to help. But she had to pay out of pocket for these days.

DHS doesn’t have a system for this kind of situation. During school vacations or if school is cancelled for some reason, either the mom needs to pay out of pocket or I need to absorb the costs and fight for weeks with DHS to get reimbursed. It’s not fair to hard working parents who rely on child care and it’s not fair to providers. Child care providers need a voice so we can improve the system for ourselves, the parents, and the children we care for.

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Kim Silva, Hope Valley: Parents and Family Child Care Providers Are a Team

Parents and family child care providers are an early education team, preparing children socially and emotionally to succeed in school.

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Darlene Calise, North Providence: Hard-Working Parents Depend on Early Learning Professionals

I’ve been a child care provider for 25 years. I love caring for children, but this is hard work! I open my doors at 6:15am each day because one of my parents is an RN and starts work at 7:00. My last kid goes home at 5:30pm. That’s 11 hours of work every day, not including clean up or preparation.

I do everything I can for these children, and to make sure their parents can work each day. It’s time we are viewed as professionals, and I support forming a union so we can work with the state as partners to ensure that kids get the care they need.

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Carol Randall, Warwick: Parents Need Quality Child Care Options

Child care providers are important in all communities, to give parents the option to choose what environment best suits their children. We provide a home away from home for children, while maintaining and following all the state guidelines. Therefore, we deserve representation for our business needs.

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