Congressman Walks a Day in the Shoes of a Family Child Care Provider

United States Congressman Jim Himes Spends Afternoon Working As A Child Care Provider

On Wednesday August 14, United States Congressman Jim Himes experienced firsthand the important daily work performed by family child care providers.  Congressman Himes spent part of the afternoon shadowing and assisting family child care provider Rhina Capone at her home where she cares for six preschool children.  The congressman made lunches, read to preschoolers and assisted in educational activities.   The event, sponsored by CSEA SEIU Local 2001 highlighted the importance of home-based child care to the system of early care and education and was part of a national day of action to bring attention to the devastating effects of sequestration and the need to maintain funding for vital services as cuts continue to take a toll on programs like the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), the federal program that provides funding to Connecticut’s Care 4 Kids program.

“Family child care is a vital part of our early child care system.  These providers take care of thousands of children in Connecticut every day while their parents go to work, often at times that are outside the regular hours of most child care centers.  This was a great opportunity to experience firsthand the essential work performed by Rhina and spend time with the kids in her care.” said Congressman Himes.

Many parents who receive subsidized child care through Care 4 Kids could potentially lose out as the threat to child care funding from sequestration could reduce access to the program.  “Despite having a full-time job that I love, I am not in a financial position to afford childcare for my kids. Without Care4Kids, I would not be able to keep my children in a daycare facility as it would be too expensive for me. It would mean that my entire paycheck would go into taking care of my daycare bill. The only reason I’m still able to go to work every day and continue to make a difference in my community, is because Care4Kids has eased this financial burden for me.” said parent Yesenia Conde.

Additionally, important proposed federal regulations could strain the system further if they are enacted without additional funding.   “The emphasis used to be solely on custodial care.  The proposed CCDF regulations requiring states to make their child care programs be of sufficient quality to promote optimal child development should be applauded, but if they are enacted without additional resources we fear they will result in a reduction of the number of families served; thereby leaving thousands of children in potentially compromising settings while a small number of children get great care.” said CSEA President Patrice Peterson.

CSEA SEIU Local 2001 represents over 4000 family child care providers in the State of Connecticut who participate in the Federal/State Child Care Subsidy program known here as Care 4 Kids and funded through CCDF.  CSEA SEIU Local 2001 is currently negotiating for the child care providers’ first contract.

CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 represents 25,000 active and retired public sector workers serving in state and municipal agencies, as well as local school districts across Connecticut. Visit www.seiu2001.org online for more information on home-based child care professionals’ efforts to deliver consistent care and early educational development.

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