Updated Priorities, October 2020
- Enact strong state and federal revenue policies to maintain, expand and improve essential programs that are a lifeline for children and families. We support the Revenue for Rhode Island proposal and other equitable strategies to increase state and federal resources that will help families with young children.
- Ensure child care programs can operate safely with adequate and effective staffing during and beyond the pandemic. Make the increased rates for the Child Care Assistance Program permanent to meet the required federal equal access standard that was needed pre-COVID. Additional professional development and supports are needed to help programs and staff care for significantly stressed babies, young children, and families, while also caring for themselves. Safe, healthy, and high-quality child care options are essential for economic recovery and public health.
- Establish goals for early educator wages and implement strategies to increase compensation statewide. Early educators are among the lowest paid people in the state and child care, family home visiting and Early Intervention programs struggle to recruit and retain excellent staff. We should ensure wages of frontline staff exposed to the virus are above poverty level, and educators that have early childhood credentials and degrees and demonstrate effective practice are rewarded with increased wages.
- Improve our state’s paid family leave program (Temporary Caregivers Insurance) to match national benchmarks by increasing wage replacement rates and extending the number of weeks. We need to improve Rhode Island’s paid family leave policy so all parents, and especially lower-wage earning parents, can have adequate income to remain at home with newborns, adoptive, and foster children for at least 12 weeks.
- Cover community-based doula services through Medicaid and private health insurance. Invest in building, supporting, and sustaining the doula workforce and infrastructure in the state as a strategy to reduce racial and economic disparities in maternal and child health outcomes.
- Sustain our network of voluntary, evidence-based family home visiting programs by allocating state funds as a Medicaid match to fund remote and in-person services that help parents during these critical early years.
- Expand access to Rhode Island Pre-K and sustain state-funded Head Start. These are high-quality programs that help get children on track for school success.
- Pass the affordable housing bond which will expand affordable housing and help early learning programs improve their facilities.
RIght from the Start Campaign Steering Committee
Economic Progress Institute
Latino Policy Institute
Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health
Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association
RIght from the Start Campaign Champions
American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter
Books Are Wings
The Children’s Workshop
Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP)
Crayons Early Care & Education Center
Dr. Day Care
J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center
Nowell Leadership Academy
Parents Leading for Educational Equity
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Prevent Child Abuse America
Reach Out And Read Rhode Island
Ready to Learn Providence
Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families
RI NOW (Rhode Island – National Organization for Women)
West Bay Community Action
Women’s Fund of Rhode Island
YMCA of Pawtucket