Senate approves DiMario’s bill to remove restrictions on child care assistance recipients


STATE HOUSE — The Senate today voted to approve Sen. Alana M. DiMario’s bill to allow more qualified Rhode Islanders to receive child care assistance by removing burdensome requirements that recipients cooperate with the Office of Child Support Services to establish paternity and enforce child support orders for children receiving child care assistance.

Many parents do not want to establish paternity or enforce a child support order because they have good reasons to not engage with an absent parent. For example, it may be unsafe to have this person in their life and the requirement to establish paternity or enforce a child support order may force them to choose between putting their family at risk or forgoing the child care assistance they would otherwise qualify for,” said Senator DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham). “Removing these requirements and providing high quality child care to those who qualify, no strings attached, will take an unnecessary burden off of families who need assistance and allow these parents the choice to continue their education or enter the workforce.”

This legislation (2024-S 2459) would remove the current requirement that the parents or caretakers applying to the Department of Human Services for child care assistance cooperate in establishing paternity and in enforcing child support orders for any children they are applying for assistance for. Under this legislation, they would still be able to choose to use the Office of Child Support Services’ resources to establish parentage, a child support or medical order, or to enforce that order, but this would no longer be a condition to quality for child care assistance.

“Advocates have been working on this for years and we are thrilled to see the Senate advance Senator DiMario’s bill to repeal the burdensome Child Support Enforcement requirement from the RI Child Care Assistance Program,” said Leanne Barrett, senior policy analyst at Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and coordinator of the Right from the Start Campaign. “Only nine states impose this eligibility requirement for Child Care Assistance, which is not in place for any other early care and education program.”

Said Senator DiMario, “These requirements limit workforce participation by preventing Rhode Islanders who would otherwise qualify for child care assistance from receiving it. Ironically, this workforce shortage is especially acute in the child care industry, where managers tell us they consistently lose employees who cannot afford child care themselves and are unable to claim the subsidies they qualify for because of the requirement to cooporate in establishing paternity and enforcing child support orders.”

The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7122).



Closing arguments have ended in Donald Trump's criminal hush money case. The judge will give the New York jury his instructions tomorrow morning before they begin deliberations. Trump is charged with falsifying records before the 2016 election to hide payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He is the first American president to stand trial in a criminal case.        Over one-million people are without power in Texas. Heavy storms are pounding the state today, leading to a ground-stop at Houston's Airport. The system dropped baseball-sized hail on parts of North Texas, including Dallas. Dallas County has issued a disaster declaration. Meanwhile, at least 23 people are dead after severe weather slammed the nation's midsection, including Texas, over the Memorial Day weekend.       The U.S. military is working to repair a temporary pier used to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Defense Department spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters today it will take about a week to fix the pier. The pier broke apart over the weekend due to rough seas and will be towed to Israel for repairs.        At least seven people are injured, with another two missing after an explosion in Youngstown, Ohio. The explosion took place at a downtown bank building. Officials in the area say they are concerned about the structural integrity of the building. The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency said in a statement that natural gas was involved.       Emergency crews are responding to a military aircraft crash in New Mexico. Officials say the crash occurred near the Albuquerque International Sunport on Tuesday afternoon. The plane went down outside of the airfield on the south side of the airport. The pilot is reportedly conscious and has been taken to the hospital for treatment.        Music fans will finally get a chance to hear a fabled album from the Wu-Tang Clan. The world's only copy of the hip-hop group's 2015 album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" will go on display at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, Australia next month. Former Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli bought the the album for two-million-dollars at a 2015 auction and it was later sold to an art collective in 2021.