STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) recently participated in the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ (NALEO) 37th Annual Conference by moderating a discussion titled “Child Care: Key Ingredient for Economic Growth.”  The panel discussion, which was held virtually, took place on July 21 and can be viewed online at https://naleo.org/virtual2020/.

“As we continue to respond to the challenges of this pandemic, we know that child care has taken center stage as we work to reopen our communities. Frontline workers who cannot find care for their own children cannot in turn provide health care for our families, teach our older children, or work in the grocery stores, pharmacies, and at other essential jobs necessary for our economy to keep ticking.  It is for these reasons that child care truly is a key ingredient for economic growth,” said Senator Cano.

Senator Cano was joined by Dr. Lynette Fraga, who serves as the Executive Director for Child Care Aware of America, and Ms. Lauren Hogan, who serves as the Managing Director of Policy and Professional Advancement at the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The discussion highlighted efforts policymakers are undertaking to fund childcare infrastructure, the crucial resources needed by the early care workforce to remain open in a safe manner, and the challenges and opportunities to ensure that all families and children have access to high quality care. 

During the panel discussion, Senator Cano outlined two pieces of legislation she had introduced before the COVID-19 pandemic that relate to child care.  The first bill (2020-S 2462) calls for a study on wage scales for child care workers for the purpose of creating policies so that Rhode Island does not lose child care workers to neighboring states, where wages may be higher.  The second bill (2020-S 2630) urges the state to develop strategies to improve education for early educators, allowing child care centers to develop and retain staff.

“By valuing the workers in this field, we know it will lead to high-quality care for our children.  And in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, high-quality child care has become even more important to not only educate and care for our future generations, but to allow our workers the peace of mind that their children are safe and cared for while we navigate this period of health and economic uncertainty.  I urge everyone with an interest in child care to view this very informative discussion,” concluded Senator Cano.

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