“Fiscal Cliff” Failure Could Hurt Thousands of Rhode Island Families

by Mark Curtis, ABC 6 Chief Political Reporter   


The joyful screams of children on a pre–school play ground, could be silenced if Congress and the White House, can't solve the federal budget crisis known as the fiscal cliff.

Outside the “Children's Friend” social service agency in Providence the kids play, inside the adults worry.

Children's Friend CEO David Caprio said, “In our Head Start program – again serving Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls – we may have to close up to five classrooms — and over 100 children and their families will lose access to services.

Those services include child care; classroom instruction; nutritional help and food.

Thirty-two thousand people in Rhode Island get help from Children's Friend every year, but the agency needs it's federal aid to serve those most in need.

“About 98 percent of our families have income under the federal poverty level,” Caprio said.

ABC6 News Reporter Mark Curtis said, “The benefits for Children's Friend aren't just for the kids. While they are here, this allows a lot of their parents to go to work or go to school. If the cuts happen, the results would be devastating.”

“It is really, really important to me,” said Nayrobi Almonte, a single mom with three kids including a three–week old baby.

She depends on services from “Children's Friend”:

“With a baby at home, it is really important. Because they tell me, you know, if like the baby is growing the right way. And they support me in many, many ways,” Almonte said.

Many impoverished parents in job training or school, may have to drop out of the workforce, if they have no one like “Children's Friend” to help care for their kids.