Cicilline Outlines #ABetterDeal to Make High-Quality Child Care Affordable for All RI Families

Mar 27, 2018

PAWTUCKET – As the cost of child care continues to skyrocket for middle class families in Rhode Island, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) hosted a roundtable at the Children’s Workshop in Lincoln with non-profit leaders, childcare providers, parents and stakeholders to discuss A Better Deal on Child Care – the Democratic proposal to make high-quality child care affordable for middle class families. Two images from the Roundtable are attached to this email. A full video of the Roundtable is available on Facebook here.

“Across Rhode Island, too many families are struggling to afford high-quality child care,” said Cicilline. “The cost of child care has increased by 25 percent in the past decade, forcing parents to choose between going to work and paying for child care. Democrats have an exciting solution to this problem that will make high-quality child care affordable for all middle class Rhode Island families.”

As a co-chair of the Democratic Policy & Communications Committee (DPCC), Cicilline helped write the Democratic economic agenda: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” As part of this agenda, Democrats are promising to make high-quality child care affordable for all middle class families by passing the Child Care for Working Families Act, and Cicilline has led this effort.

The Child Care for Working Families Act would address the current early learning and care crisis by ensuring that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. Additionally, the bill would:

·         Create a new federal-state partnership to provide universal access to pre-K for low and moderate income 3-and-4 year olds

·         More than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance in America

·         Increase pay for child care professionals who care for our children

·         Create 2.3 million jobs by making it easier for parents to enter the workforce and by growing the child care and early childhood education sector

·         Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children, infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

·         Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming.

Democrats are also fighting to make sure that the federal government is expanding resources to help states address this crisis. The recent Omnibus government spending bill, which Cicilline supported, included major increases to federal investments in high-quality affordable child care.

  • A $2.3 billion boost for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for a total of $5.2 billion
  • A $600 million increase for Head Start to bring total support to $9.6 billion. Of the total amount, $640 million is to support the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program.
  • A $20 million increase for a total $1.2 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, which supports afterschool programming.

Despite the consequences of inaction, the GOP leadership in the House, Senate and White House have not made making high-quality child care affordable a priority. Their major legislative accomplishment – a $1.5 trillion tax break for billionaires and corporate special interests – left middle class families with higher health care costs and almost no tax relief.

The high cost of child care harms the growth of Rhode Island’s economy and the success of our children. Parents forced to shoulder the high cost of paying for child care are less likely to enter the workforce, and children who do not have access to high-quality programs are less likely to perform well in school.

The average cost for full-time care at a Child Care Center in Rhode Island is $12,091 for an infant and $10,172 for a preschool age child, according to the RI Kids Count Facebook of 2016. In comparison, the average cost of in-state tuition at the University of Rhode Island for the 2016/2017 school year was $11,128 for a full-time student.