Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
January 26, 2009
Special Issue:
Early Childhood Policy Updates
Federal Economic Recovery Bill
Girls Eating Apples
The U.S. House of Representatives recently released its proposal for the economic recovery package, and it provides funding for many important child care, early education, and related programs. Final figures have not been agreed upon. A final version of the $825 million economic recovery package is likely to be passed by Congress and be ready for President Obama's signature by the end of February.
The House proposal includes the following:

-$2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work.
-$2.1 billion for Head Start to provide comprehensive development services to help 110,000 additional children succeed in school.
-$600 million for IDEA Infants and Families for formula grants to help states serve children with disabilities age 2 and younger.
-$2.5 billion for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for block grants to help States deal with the surge in families needing help during the recession and to prevent them from cutting work programs and services for abused and neglected children. 
Click here for a more detailed description of the House proposal
Rhode Island Funding and Enrollment Estimates 
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Women's Law Center have estimated the additional funding states would receive if funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Head Start is increased by $3 billion each.
For Rhode Island, the additional $8.4 million funding for Head Start and Early Head Start would allow approximately 250 new Head Start preschool slots and 170 new Early Head Start slots for families with infants and toddlers. 

For Rhode Island, the additional funding $7.8 million for child care would allow child care assistance for 900 more children in low-income working families eligible for child care subsidies. 
Child Care and Development Block Grant
Kids playing blocks
The federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is scheduled for re-authorization this year. Several national organizations have been working with local advocates, including Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, to craft an Agenda for Affordable, High-Quality Child Care to be used to inform Congress about priorities for the re-authorization. 
This Agenda calls for more funds to be allocated to child care in order to 1) ensure healthy and safe care, 2) make care more affordable, 3) improve quality to promote early learning, 4) improve and expand infant and toddler care, and 5) support research, technical assistance, and coordination. Visit the National Women's Law Center's Child Care Agenda page for more information or to sign-on in support of the Agenda.

President Obama's Early Childhood Agenda
Kids Flying
President Obama and Vice President Biden have announced their Early Childhood Plan which includes critical funding for child care, Head Start, pre-K and the Nurse Family Partnership Program.
Zero to Five Plan:
The Obama-Biden "Zero to Five" Early Learning Challenge Grant program promises to provide critical support to young children and their parents including new resources to support the early care and education of infants and toddlers and help for states to move toward voluntary, universal pre-school
Expand Early Head Start and Head Start:
Obama and Biden promise to quadruple Early Head Start funding, increase Head Start funding, and improve quality for both.
Affordable, High-Quality Child Care:
Obama and Biden will also increase access to affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families. 
Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities:
 Obama and Biden propose to double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.

Key family components of the Obama-Biden Early Childhood Plan

Support Parents with Young Children: Obama and Biden plan to expand programs like the successful Nurse-Family Partnership model to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families.

Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Currently the FMLA covers only certain people who work for employers with 50 or more employees. Obama and Biden propose to expand the FMLA to cover businesses with 25 or more employees and to cover more purposes.

Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave: Obama plans to establish a $1.5 billion fund to assist states to adopt paid family leave systems.

Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit:
Obama and Biden plan to reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses. 

Visit us at www.rikidscount.org
In This Issue
star Federal Economic Recovery Bill
star Child Care and Development Block Grant Re-Authorization
star President Obama's Early Childhood Agenda
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.