Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the RI Department of Human Services announced three initiatives recently to help workers who may need child care during coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
Starting March 24, 2020, workers (not just frontline workers as was initially announced) looking for child care can visit Care.com/rineed to find a local caregiver. Rhode Island residents interested in becoming caregivers can visit Care.com/rigive to register. Potential caregivers are subject to Care.com's extensive background and safety checks. While child care services are not typically free of charge, the Rhode Island portal gives residents the ability to waive their fees and volunteer as caregivers, providing additional support to frontline workers. Care.com is offering 90 days of free service for its website, and not the child care itself.
"Frontline workers are critical to Rhode Island's response to COVID-19," said Governor Raimondo. "Among others, medical professionals, emergency workers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, and members of law enforcement are working around the clock throughout this crisis. I'm proud that Rhode Island has partnered with Care.com to connect these heroes with safe, affordable child care."
"I know firsthand that ensuring that my own child is safe and cared for is what allows me to go to work every day," said Director Hawkins. "I am so grateful to Care.com and the Governor for stepping up and being willing to support our most critical workers during this unprecedented time."
Care.com CEO, Tim Allen, said, "We applaud Governor Raimondo and the state of Rhode Island for taking such proactive measures in support of the essential frontline workers battling this pandemic. Care.com is honored to partner with them and we hope other municipalities will follow their lead. We stand at the ready to provide whatever help we can."
In addition, several child care facilities – the Boys & Girls Club, Greater Providence YMCA, Children's Workshop, Children's Friend and Learning Brook – will offer on-site child care specifically for the children of essential hospital workers in the coming weeks. Eligible hospital staff will be notified by their employer.
"These providers have stepped up to ensure that our most essential workers have access to quality child care," said Governor Raimondo. "I am incredibly grateful for their partnership during this difficult time."
The Governor also announced that DHS has promulgated emergency regulations for Rhode Island child care providers that choose to remain open during this crisis even though the State is still advising, and not recommending, they close. To the extent possible, child care facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
1. Child care must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer;
2. Children shall not change from one group to another;
3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with one another.