2013-05-30 / News

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.

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