PROVIDENCE, RI There was truly a strolling thunder at the State House Wednesday afternoon.
DHS staff, advocates, community partners, supportive legislators, educators, parents and dozens of babies and toddlers crowded the Rotunda, Bell and State Rooms to advocate for high quality child care and proposed tiered reimbursement rates. Even Elmo, Poppy from the popular Trolls movie and characters from the Paws Patrol came out to promote for necessary change.
The 7th Child Care Awareness Day was made possible by Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), chairwoman of the Permanent Legislative Commission on Child Care (PLCCC), and a champion in the General Assembly with Committee Vice Chairwoman Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) on improving child care for all future leaders and their families.
The annual event began with more than 40 families to the State House in a police escorted parade that started the Omni Providence. Strolling Thunder, a national event, was organized by strong DHS parent, RI Kids Count and others. Child Care Awareness Day continued inside with informational booths, lobbying legislators, a rousing speaking program and DHS' Picture Perfect event with the kid-favorite characters.
"We know that there is no better dollar invested than the dollar we provide to child care providers to take care of our youngest residents," DHS Director Courtney E. Hawkins told the audience in her remarks while also thanking Governor Gina Raimondo, who invested an additional $1.3 million in her proposed budget this coming year to start a tiered reimbursement structure for the subsidies given for infant- and toddler-care through DHS' CCAP program. CCAP helps nearly 10,000 children monthly.
Thank you to everyone who came out! It was truly a Picture Perfect opportunity to support the State's child care initiatives. To see the photos taken in the State Room, open the link below (DHS Facebook Photo Album - Child Care Awareness Day).