Anticipating potential growth of state pre-k programs, state policymakers should consider a number of approaches to protect and expand the existing infant-toddler child care infrastructure. Beyond limiting harm to infant-toddler programs, state leaders could take the opportunity to invest in a birth-5 system that equitably supports high quality services for infants and toddlers and preschool-age children.
A 2018 state law in Rhode Island increased reimbursement rates and established a tiered payment system for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program linked the state’s QRIS. The tiered payment system has been expanded in subsequent years to include all age groups of children enrolled in centers and all children under age 6 in family child care. During the COVID pandemic, emergency child care rate increases were made under Executive Order providing up to a 30 percent increase in rates for infant toddler child care providers of all quality levels. And in 2021, new permanent rates were established that provide an additional increase to infants and toddlers in high-quality child care centers.
To read more about state strategies to strengthen infant-toddler care, while expanding pre-K read here.