Sen. Cano and Sen. DiMario Introduce RI Child Care is Essential Act


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) and Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) have introduced the RI Child Care is Essential Act to improve access to high-quality, affordable child care.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that there are several systematic inequities still present in our state, particularly in regard to opportunities available to our communities of color.  The ability to secure quality and affordable child care is one example of these inequities that affect our communities of color more than most in our state.  It is for this reason that we introduced the Child Care Is Essential Act, because child care is an essential service and every working parent and their children fundamentally deserve the opportunity to access quality and affordable child care.  Without it, parents are unable to provide for themselves and their families and children are left behind emotionally, educationally, and socially,” said Senator Cano, sponsor of the legislation.

“High-quality and affordable child care is so essential to the healthy development of our children and every child and family deserves to have access to these crucial services.  The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our children and families especially hard, with parents being forced out of work in order to care for and educate their children during the lockdown.  Many sectors in Rhode Island such as healthcare and education are also struggling to find workers to meet their needs. Filling these child care gaps also helps get caregivers back to doing their essential work in our communities.  Now more than ever, so many of our families are in desperate need of high-quality affordable child care and this bill will deliver that to them,” said Senator DiMario, cosponsor of the legislation.

The legislation (2021-S 0378) would increase rates for the Child Care Assistance Program to meet the federal equal access standard and help programs deliver high-quality care.  The legislation would also cap family co-payments for the Child Care Assistance Program at seven percent of a family’s income, which is the federal affordability standard.  Finally, the bill would restore family eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program to 225 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and adjust exit eligibility to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Both Senators Cano and DiMario note that the bill has 20 cosponsors, indicating broad support to improve access to quality and affordable child care in the Senate.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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