Read Executive Director Lisa Hildebrand’s Full Statement on the Child Care for Working Families Actposted: 03.11.2019 by RIEAYC Staff
Hello, my name is Lisa Hildebrand and I am the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children. We are a nonprofit agency dedicated to improving the well-being of children, with a focus on the quality of education for children birth to age 8.
Thank you to Kimberly and Federal Hill House for hosting us today and all of the education advocates joining us. And, of course, thank Senator Reed for your amazing continued support of children and families in this state, and for sponsoring legislation, the Child Care for Working Families Act, which will boost the federal investment in child care programs across the country.
Working families make sacrifices and hard choices every day in order to put the needs of their children first. But when it comes to child care, parents shouldn’t have to choose between affordability and quality. In Rhode Island, too many families do not have access to high-quality early care and education that will help their children thrive without breaking the bank. In fact, in RI, infant care costs exceed the cost of tuition at URI= more than $13,000 dollars a year for young families and unfortunately, babies don’t qualify for student loans!
The Child Care for Working Families Act would allow 82% of Rhode Islanders to become eligible for child care assistance. Right now, a family that pays approximately $250 in child care every week will instead pay just $37. These savings would mean thousands of dollars a year for Rhode Island families.
Child care providers can not charge less and still provide quality care, and families can not pay more, and the result of this is that people who work in the field are paid low wages. 76% of the current child care workforce are earning less than a living wage. 53% of that workforce receives at least one form of public benefits. The teachers who are caring for and educating our youngest children are living at the poverty level and are having to make the hard decision between putting food on their own tables, or paying their electric bill. This legislation would significantly improve compensation and training for the child care workforce to ensure that our state’s teachers and caregivers have the support they need to succeed.
The Child Care for Working Families Act is what early learning advocates across RI and the US have been requesting and we are extremely grateful to the sponsors in Congress who have listened and are taking steps to repair a broken system so that children who are 1 or 2 or 3 years old RIGHT NOW have access to the quality early care and education that every child deserves.