Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Registered Apprenticeship for Family Child Care Providers Workforce Apprenticeships

Part of Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

In 2021, multiple Rhode Island organizations came together to announce a new Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) for Family Child Care (FCC) providers. This program represents a partnership between four parties: the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), which sets the quality standards of care; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 NE, which represents the bargaining unit of the FCC Providers; the SEIU Education and Support Fund, which is sponsoring the registered apprenticeship and will play an integral role as an education provider; and Family Child Care Providers, an essential representative in the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee that oversees the registered apprenticeship program, ensuring the program meets the needs of providers seeking to advance their education, professional development and earnings opportunities. FCC providers are sole proprietors that through SEIU collectively bargain with DHS on reimbursement rates. The program aims to address the significant barriers FCC providers face to earn a Childhood Development Associate certification (CDA), which helps increase providers’ earnings and QRIS ratings. RAP is an 18-month program that provides on-the-job training for new apprentices while earning a CDA and receiving incremental wage increases. The program is funded by the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Association American Apprenticeship Initiative.

Learn more: Building Futures Rhode Island


Building Futures Rhode Island. (2021). New, Innovative Early Childhood Educator Registered Apprenticeship for Family Child Care Providers.

Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund Expansion Physical Space and Facilities

One-time funding

Through a March 2021 ballot measure, Rhode Island voters approved the Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund, which dedicated over $13 million in one-time grant funding for physical improvements to existing child care spaces and for the development of new licensed early childhood care and education facilities. Grant funds can be used for costs associated with the design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation, or other capital improvement or deferred maintenance of an eligible facility. The approved applicants include five expansion projects totaling more than $7.8 million and creating nearly 500 slots, plus 10 capital improvement projects totaling $700,000 and improving more than 700 childcare seats. Awards will be made until the fund is fully allocated.

Learn more: Early Childhood Care & Education Capital Fund

State of Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. (2022). Governor McKee Announces $8.5 Million in First Round Awardees from Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund.
LISC. (n.d.). Early childhood care and education capital fund.

Rhode Island Data Ecosystem Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

Integrated Data System

Established in 2016, the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Data Ecosystem is a comprehensive health integrated data systemthat includes vital records, child welfare services, and early childhood services (e.g., home visiting, early intervention, child care subsidy, and Head Start). The system functions as a series of data requests and data-sharing agreements across multiple programs and multiple agencies, including the Department of Education. The system shares demographic, program, and individual level data using a unique identifier.

The system is funded through federal Medicaid funds, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act funds, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants, Preschool Development Grants Birth Through 5, CARES Act funds, and the CDC Health Disparities grant program.

Learn more: About the Rhode Island Ecosystem

Berkowitz, E. & Jenkins, D. (2021). AISP Case Study: How the Rhode Island EOHHS Ecosystem Leverages Federal Funding to Support State Data Capacity. Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy. University of Pennsylvania.

Center for Early Learning Professionals Workforce Professional Learning

Includes coaching, training, and an online component

Rhode Island’s Center for Early Learning Professionals offers in-person, online, and hybrid professional development opportunities in the form of intensive, multi-session training series. Participants receive assignments to apply skills in their work. The Center also offers on-site coaching and mentoring to support training implementation. Diverse training is open to all early care and education professionals in Rhode Island who serve children age birth to 5 in child care centers, family child care homes, public school inclusion preschools, and state-funded pre-K programs. The Center is funded by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) as the workforce development hub for the birth-to-5 early learning community. The Center partners with BrightStars and other DHS-funded community partners to coordinate the delivery of services to best meet the individual needs of programs and providers.

Learn more: Rhode Island Center for Early Learning Professionals


Center for Early Learning Professionals. (n.d.). CELP PD.

Center for Early Learning Professionals. (n.d.). What we do.

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Demographics Link copied!

State population

1,093,734 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

8.9% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

91.1% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

53,550 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

36% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$90,300.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

3.5% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

5% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

N/A, for most states between 65%-75% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

33% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (4%)
  • Black or African American (7%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (28%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (5%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (55%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Rhode Island State Pre-Kindergarten Program Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (0%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (8%)
  • Other/none (92%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (21%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (5%)
  • Other/none (74%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($33.8)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($24.6)
  • CCDBG State Match ($3)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($125)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($14.4)
  • MIECHV ($7.3)
  • IDEA Part C ($3.6)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($2.6)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($42.8)
  • Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five ($11.6)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 21,000 children in Rhode Island.