PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Only 39 percent of children from low-income families and 20 percent of 4-year-olds in the state will be enrolled in Head Start or state-financed pre-kindergarten programs this fall, a report from a nonprofit has found.
State spending on child care subsidies falls short of expenditures a decade ago, according to the report released Monday by Rhode Island Kids Count. The latest budget from Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo includes $3.3 million more for child care assistance than the previous year.
The state’s pre-K program is serving nearly 600 4-year-olds in high-poverty communities this year, The Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/2dbd9Cy ) reported. The classrooms are operated by Head Start, some public schools and community child care centers.
The state spends $9,641 per child in a state-sponsored pre-K class, compared with $20,000 per child in a K-12 class.
The executive director of Rhode Island Kids Count, Elizabeth Burke Bryant, said the question is one of scale.
“In the past, we have had to patch together a system of programs that don’t serve all of our kids, especially those from low-income communities,” she said.
With almost $11 million in state and federal funds, more than 1,000 children are expected to be served in 11 communities next year.
The report recommends the state increase the income eligibility for child care assistance. About 9,700 children are receiving child care subsidies; more than 14,000 got them in 2003.
The group also is advocating for more money for pre-K teachers and higher rates of state reimbursement to child care programs depending on how highly rated they are.
Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com