Raimondo, SEIU District 1199 reach child care agreement

PROVIDENCE – The state has reached a final agreement with SEIU District 1199 New England regarding family child care providers who are a part of Rhode Island’s Child Care Assistance Program, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced Friday.

SEIU members voted unanimously Thursday night to ratify the two-year agreement, which was reached pursuant to legislation the General Assembly enacted in 2013 establishing collective bargaining rights for family child care providers, according to information from the governor.

“Investing in our kids, and the systems that care for them, is essential to ensure everyone has an opportunity to make it in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Providing quality, affordable child care removes a critical barrier to getting and keeping a job for many of our hardworking families, improves the development of our kids and prepares them for success in the classroom. I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with SEIU to enhance our commitment to high-quality child care and support working families.”

Said Patrick J. Quinn, SEIU District 1199NE executive vice president, “We have taken a big step forward in making it easier for working parents to find quality child care options in their communities that meet their work schedules. All workers deserve a living wage and this historic agreement shows that Rhode Island is ready to recognize and live up to the value of the important work of our early educators.”

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According to R.I. Kids Count data, more than 70 percent of Rhode Island children under the age of 6 have parents who work, and are in child care at least part time. For many families, access to affordable, quality child care can be a barrier to finding and keeping a job. That barrier had been made worse by reimbursement rates that fell below the market rate, the governor’s office said.

According to the state Department of Human Services, the state’s Child Care Assistance Program served approximately 5,800 families and 9,400 children in July.
Agreement highlights include:

  • $250,000 investment to establish a jointly-administered training and professional development fund to improve the quality of care and early learning delivered by family child care providers
  • The first CCAP reimbursement rate increases since 2008: Effective July 1, a 3 percent rate increase, in addition to a $10 weekly increase for infant care. Effective July 1, 2016, step increases of 1 to 4 percent, depending on a provider’s level of educational attainment and improvements in communication between providers and state government to better facilitate the CCAP application process for parents.

Anticipating that a final agreement, as well as a rate increase for child care centers, would be accomplished, Raimondo requested, and the General Assembly agreed, to include an additional $2.1 million in fiscal 2016 ($1.65 million in state funding and $450,000 in federal funding) for child care. As a result, no additional funding will be required this fiscal year.

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