May 09, 2014
Tonya, Participant in Culinary Arts Training
Good evening House Finance Committee members, my name is Tonya, I’m here today in support of this childcare bill. Upon inquiring at the local networkRI one stop center in Woonsocket for assistance in finding a job, my one stop counselor contacted me that Connecting for Children and Families (CCF) was offering a 12-week Culinary Arts training program that was funded by the Governor’s Workforce Board of RI. I have always had a passion and interest in pursuing employment in this field. After going through a full assessment for consideration to enroll in this training, childcare availability was in the forefront. My fiancé owns a plastering business for the past three years, which is our only form of income and with expenses and taxes we are barely making ends meet. As a family of 4, our income was in the range of being eligible for childcare assistance but not for myself to attend this vocational training.
If this childcare pilot program didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend CCF’s 12-week Culinary Arts Program. This program is very intensive and demanding; it provides job readiness skills, culinary skills in the kitchen, 4 industry credentials, and 100 hours of unpaid internship work experience with an employer partner. In addition, knowing my daughter is in quality daycare that is affordable to me, allows me to focus all my attention on my training. Based on my family’s income we have a co-pay of $61 per week. Childcare is expensive and without the help that I have received, I wouldn’t be here today. These programs that were available to me have made a positive impact in my life, and I am now a path to succeed. I will be completing this program by the end of June and in a better position for obtaining a job. My ultimate goal after gaining work experience in entering this field is to someday open my own catering business. Please consider continuing this program and allowing childcare assistance for adults who qualify to attend a short-term vocational training program. Allowing other adults to access stable and affordable childcare assistance puts more focus on improving our skills and entering into the workforce so we can build a better financial future.
Thank you for this opportunity and consideration of this bill.
Khadija Lewis Khan, Executive Director of Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center
Taken from Testimony in Support of Child Care Bills S2493 & H7421
“… The second family that I will tell you about is a family that is currently enrolled. The mother works for a security company and has been working there for three years. She has one child. She received a merit raise in the fall that put her over 180% of the poverty level and she would have lost care without the “cliff effect pilot” that the legislature authorized in October. I talked with this mother, Jennifer, this week about what she would have done
if she lost her child care assistance and she said that she may have not been able to work. She would have looked for a family member to care for her child but she feels that she would have had to piece together care between a few family members in order to make it work. Also her daughter has gained so much in our care, she has begun displaying pre-reading skills, she is doing math, her language has grown, she is participating in a science enrichment program at our center and gaining the skills she needs to be a confident Kindergartener. Continuity of care in the early childhood years is so important as children learn and grown best in the context of secure and stable relationships.”