Rachel, Narragansett: Parents Need a Seat at the Table

Rachel from Narraganset - pic 2I live in Narragansett with my two children. As a single mother of two kids, I know firsthand that the CCAP program is an important vehicle to help low-income families afford the high expenses of child care while allowing them to meet their work responsibilities.

I support family child care providers being able to form a union because I’d like to see their profession grow so that working parents have more options for flexible, affordable, quality child care.

I also want to see a parent advisory committee put in place that can work with providers and the state to address the challenges of the Child Care Assistance Program. Four years ago my life fell apart when my marriage ended and I was on my own to care for myself and my kids. I had a Bachelor’s Degree and several years’ experience teaching at a high school but I still had a hard time finding employment and found myself working two jobs. Even with both jobs, I still needed Child Care Assistance (CCAP). I soon found I still couldn’t make ends meet, so I picked up a third job- and although I still couldn’t make ends meet, the third job brought me closer.

Soon after I began working my third job, I was told that I no longer qualified for CCAP. I was making $25/week too much. With CCAP, I paid $50/week for child care for my two children; when I was no longer eligible for assistance my child care costs would have gone up to $330/week. That is $1320/month!

I did not earn nearly enough to be able to pay for child care on my own. I was faced with a difficult decision- to quit the third job, remain on CCAP, but not be able to make ends meet, or keep the job and be unable to pay for child care.

The parents that are utilizing the program know from their own experiences the issues and inefficiencies that exist in the Child Care Assistance Program, and they are the ones that suffer when this program isn’t working properly. We should let parents have a seat at the table and help providers and the state to improve this program and to transform CCAP to the stepping stone it is supposed to be. Not only would the quality of life improve for so many families like mine, it would allow people to work hard and get to the point where they don’t need child care assistance anymore. I just want to work hard and provide a good life for my children.

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