PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo was joined Thursday by local families and education advocates to launch a new early childhood campaign.
RIght from the Start calls for more legislation to support families and kids during their earliest years of development, according to Raimondo. She says there are seven state budget priorities for 2020 including improving paid family leave, access to high-quality child care, and a $7.5 million investment to expand access to pre-K.
“I know money is tight and I know we have to make choices, but here’s what I also know: we deserve to give these kids a good start in life,” Raimondo said.
As part of her budget proposal, Raimondo is seeking to fully fund the program as well as maintain each one of the 1,400 family slots.
She proposed a $15 million bond to fund the revitalization of early learning facilities and fully fund the home visitation program along with a 50% increase in the number of high-quality pre-K seats in the state.
“They are good investments,” she added. “They will save us money in the long run and they will strengthen Rhode Island’s communities and our economy.”
According to Raimondo, 2,500 children were placed on waitlists for the child care program in 2019.
“Kids deserve a high-quality public education starting with pre-K,” she said.
Osmary Barker spoke during the campaign launch about how she would benefit as a mother of four who’s been laid off in the past.
“These bills afford access to every child, no matter zip code, no matter background, no matter financial backing,” Barker said. “This gives them the access that they need to have a fundamental start in life.”