Who We Are

United Parents includes Rhode Islanders from across the state who are uniting to win quality, affordable, child care for every child.

United Parents RI

Rhode Island has the lowest eligibility level for child care assistance of any New England state. Too many Rhode Island families find it hard to qualify for help in paying for early learning for their children. Other parents struggle with delays in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) application process and communication problems with the State. And others lose assistance when in school or job training, or if they accept a small raise, an increase in hours, or a promotion at work.

These problems can only get solved if we speak with one voice. That’s why parents have formed United Parents (UP) Rhode Island, a project of SEIU 1199NE. Join with us! Together we can make our voices heard.

Read the stories of parents below.

Benelix, Cranston: Family Child Care Gives Me the Stability I Need to Be A Productive and Reliable Employee

I work Full time at a community non-profit that serves the elderly of Rhode Island and I also have a second part-time job on the weekends. My partner works full time in jewelry manufacturing but only earns minimum wage. I also go to school part-time at RIC to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, because in today’s economy – my existing degree is not as competitive as I need it to be.

We have 3 children : Jayden who is 8 yrs old, Xiaralix is 5 yrs old, and Carla is 2 yrs old.

We work very hard to provide the best that we can for our children. Our children do qualify for CCAP and we have them in a high quality home child care program.

My son Jayden has been with our provider since he was 4 months old. She drives every day from her home in Providence to his school in Cranston to pick him up, so he can continue in her program and so that I don’t have to leave work to get him there. Most importantly my son Jayden loves to learn! Every single day his homework is completed, and he is excited and proud of the work that he does. And when I review his assignments I can tell that my son is progressing academically. So much so, that he is involved in enrichment classes at his school.

My daughter Xiara is 5 and is scheduled to enter Kindergarten in the fall. She can already write her name, knows the entire alphabet, knows her colors and shapes and can even identify shapes like octagons and pentagons! My youngest daughter is 2 yrs old, but I am confident that when she is of age, she will enter kindergarten ready and wanting to learn like her big brother and sister.

All three of our children have enjoyed this high level of early education and care, my provider has converted the entire first floor of her 2 family home into her home child care. She whole heartedly devotes herself to providing the highest level of education and care. She takes the children on field trips and cooks wholesome and nutritious meals, so that the children in her care can grow and develop to realize their maximum potential.

As a parent I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have access to quality and reliable care. (more…)

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Kathleen, Westerly: The Care My Daughter Receives Is An Important Part of Her Future

kathleen westerly parent

As a single parent, I work hard to provide for my daughter. Working in a restaurant means I typically have evening and night time shifts and an irregular income, yet I still don’t qualify for the Child Care Assistance Program. The standards to get into and stay in the program are extremely strict, and even when I was in the program, I could never get in touch with my social worker to sort out problems. Now I can’t access the consistent child care that I need, which deprives my child of the opportunities for early learning and social interaction with peers, which would benefit her when she begins Kindergarten.

I choose family child care because of the convenience and flexibility it offers, as well as the peace of mind in knowing my child is with a caring adult that I trust. The quality child care that my child gets now is an important part of her future. The person providing that care is an integral part of the equation. My family child care provider has been providing care for years but her business has been hurt by the cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program, which has caused thousands of families to lose their care. She would like to join with other providers and parents to change the system to ensure all of RI’s children get the care and assistance they need.

My provider also has an interest in furthering her education through training but can’t afford the costs of classes. She already does an excellent job teaching the children in her program valuable skills, and training will help her make that care even more incredible. For these reasons and more, I support the Quality Family Child Care Act which will allow her to unionize with other providers statewide to raise their profession and improve the already high quality care they provide.

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Mariva, East Providence: Our Family Child Care Provider Is Making Sure My Son is Ready for School

marivaI do everything I can to make sure that my kids have the best chances to live a successful life.  This starts with making sure they have a safe, nurturing place to be when I’m at work and by connecting them to quality early learning opportunities.  I was lucky enough to find an excellent in-home child care provider to care for and teach my son who lives in South Providence, near Roger Williams Park.  I drive all the way from East Providence to drop my son off with her, but it’s worth dealing with all that bridge traffic, because I have seen how much he has benefited being with her. She cares so much about young children and knows how to teach them.

My son just turned two, and already he picks up newspapers and magazines and recognizes the letters. “Look Mommy,” he’ll say, “it’s an O! It’s an E!” He’s got the vocabulary of a three year-old.  He’ll come home and surprise me with new things that he learned, like his manners. I remember one time I sneezed, and he said “Bless you, mommy.” I couldn’t believe it! (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Amanda, East Greenwich: In Home Providers Give Care Parents Can Trust

amanda with familyI live in East Greenwich and I have two daughters, one in high school and one who is about to turn four years old. As a parent, it is very difficult to find someone that you can trust to take care of your children, especially when they’re really young, and in-home child care providers do just that for families throughout the state.

My child care provider Adriana, who runs her business out of West Warwick, has become a part of our family. Not only does my daughter love going there, she also learns so much from Adrianna’s curriculum and she has the chance to socialize with other children her own age.

I have years of experience working as a teacher’s assistant for special needs children, and I know how important individualized care is to help children meet their potential. Adriana provides this care for my child and others and should be able to use her experience and expertise in helping shape how the child care assistance program operates.

Parents in Rhode Island need reliable, flexible, quality and affordable child care for their children, and providers and parents both deserve to have a voice in the system and how it operates.

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Diana, Providence: Child Care is Key to Family Economic Success

DianaFerrera editedMy son Santiago just turned 5. He is in a home child care program that uses a bi-lingual curriculum – and his abilities are astonishing! He has advanced ability to read and articulate in both languages. So much so, that he even comes home and teaches me! My son can already do math word problems and reads in English and Spanish beyond a kindergarten level. Not only that, but my home child care provider also teaches my son manners: how to be courteous and respectful to adults and most importantly how to be kind and show empathy to other children. My son is so well prepared – he is ready for 1st grade!

I currently do not use child care assistance. However my oldest daughter and I did benefit from the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) back in the 1990’s. The program helped me stay in school and enabled me to participate productively in the workforce, while allowing my oldest daughter to start her early education in a quality structured setting. Now- she is a freshman in college!

CCAP ultimately benefited my employer too; because I had access to reliable child care, I was a reliable, stable and productive employee. (more…)

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Ricardo, Cranston: Providers and Parents Need to Partner Together to Help Our Children, Families and the Economy

Ricardo VicenteI live in Cranston with my fiancé and our three children. We use an in-home child care provider from Pawtucket to take care of our youngest son. The care and services that my child care provider offers to my family has been incredible. She has helped teach my son his numbers and his alphabet, taught him important social skills, and follows an incredibly healthy nutrition plan.

I trust my child care provider with my most important possession and I want every child to be able to benefit from this level of high quality care. This is why I support my child care provider in forming a union.

I also believe that parents and providers need to partner together with the state in order to help our children, families, and the economy. My fiancé and I both work full time, as do our parents, so our only option is to pay for child care for our children. We stagger our schedules as much as possible in order to minimize how much our kids are in child care because the costs are so high. We don’t get assistance from the state because the current eligibility guidelines are unreasonable, making child care unaffordable for many working families such as ours. I also think that it is important that child care assistance be offered to parents who want to continue their education in order to provide a better life for their family. In my own life I have wanted to change career paths or improve my skills, but I haven’t been able to because I couldn’t get child care assistance while I was in school.

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Kenia, Providence: Parents Know the Challenges

Kenia Providence Parent

I currently use an in-home provider and she has been instrumental in my children’s development. I can go to work confident in knowing that they are getting the care they need, are well fed, and are being taught important academic and social skills that will help them be successful students and adults. If the current legislation passes and providers can unionize, they will have a process to advocate for themselves in the state system that pays them. I also believe that more people would be interested in becoming providers, giving parents even more choice in whom to care for their children.

I support the Quality Family Child Care Act because I’m excited about the possibility of the state setting up a Parent Advisory Committee that will be able to address issues and concerns with the Child Care Assistance Program. The CCAP program as it is now is not helping the majority of working parents, because the guidelines are unrealistic and the process to get (and keep) assistance is long and difficult. As parents, we know the challenges and barriers that we face within the scope of the CCAP program, and we have ideas about how to improve it, we just need a way to communicate these ideas with the state.

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