Ruggiero sponsors bill to expand child-care assistance
Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Deb Ruggiero would allow families who would qualify for state child-care assistance for work to also get that assistance when parents are participating in certain work-training programs.
The legislation would open up child-care assistance to families whose incomes are at or below 180 percent of the federal poverty level but are not enrolled in the Rhode Island Works program, a federally funded, state-administered welfare program. Families would qualify if someone is enrolled in a short- term training, apprenticeship, internship or on-the-job training sponsored or funded by a state agency.
Under the bill, the state would provide a child-care subsidy to those families if they need it to attend the training. Only during the hours in which the parent or parents are attending the training program will care be provided.
“This bill provides child care during short-term training programs for about three months so we can help people help themselves get trained and get a job,” said Ruggiero. “Lack of affordable child care shouldn’t be a barrier that keeps unemployed workers from participating in programs that provide training that leads to a job. The irony is that jobless parents are probably the people who are most in need of such a training program. This is a way we can get them into job training and put them on a better path toward employment so they will be in a position to support themselves and their families on their own. It’s a proactive approach that gives people a little bit of help to get them to a place where they won’t need help anymore.”
She added that such a program would add value to the state- sponsored job training programs because it would make them available to struggling parents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate.