Yes On 5, a statewide campaign urging Rhode Island voters to support the passage of Question 5, the $15 million Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund, was launched today.
“We know that access to high quality, affordable child care is essential for Rhode Island’s young children and working families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lisa Hildebrand, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children. “However, because of high demand and a limited supply of available seats, Rhode Island parents are paying on average $11,000 per year for a quality child care placement. That’s why we’re urging voters to vote YES on Question 5 to invest in our child care and early learning facilities so they can grow, serve more working families, and provide our kids with the high-quality learning experiences they deserve.”
“We know that equitable access to high-quality early learning experiences are essential to providing children with a strong pathway in school and life,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “That’s why now is the time to invest in our state’s child care providers so they can upgrade their facilities to improve learning, provide great environments for our early childhood educators, and grow so they can serve more working families. Voting YES on Question 5 will do just that, allowing our child care providers to access funding to upgrade existing spaces and build new early learning facilities. This is a win-win for Rhode Island’s kids and working families.”
“According to a recent assessment of Rhode Island’s supply of child care seats, there are 24 cities and towns that have more than 3 infants and toddlers needing care for every one licensed slot available,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “That’s the definition of a child care desert. Put simply, we need more child care seats in Rhode Island and that’s why voting YES on Question 5 is so important. This investment will help our child care providers, help improve learning experiences for our kids, and help working families who are struggling to find quality, affordable child care options.”
“Finding infant or toddler care for Rhode Island parents is nearly impossible,” said Jennifer and Dennis DeLoach, the owner operators of the Joyful Hearts Learning Center in Pawtucket. “We’ve tried to expand for years, but it just isn’t feasible with our current profit margin. Saying Yes to Question 5 would mean both saying yes to young working couples trying to find safe, high-quality childcare for their children and saying yes to small businesses like ours trying to expand.”
“As the owner of the Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center in Providence, I want to continue to invest in quality early learning spaces for kids and adding more seats so we can serve more families,” said Khadija Lewis Khan, Executive Director. “We already operate on an extremely tight budget, which makes it difficult to set aside the resources needed to upgrade our facility. That’s why funds from the Question 5 bond would be so incredibly helpful to my program and child care providers across the state so we can invest in and upgrade our facilities.”
“As a family with three young children, we have often struggled to find affordable, high quality childcare,” said Andrew and Fernanda Poyant of Providence. “We have used several different childcare facilities. Finding high quality, affordable childcare is hard, and finding one that doesn’t have a waitlist is even harder. The pandemic has only exacerbated the situation as price and availability have increased as facilities implemented safety measures.”
Voters can participate in the special election by voting by mail (mail ballot applications are due February 9), voting in-person early (between February 10 – March 1 at their local city or town hall), or voting in-person at the polls on Election Day, March 2.
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