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What's New
Home Visiting Report Released
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is pleased to release the 2013 Maternal and Child Home Visiting System Program Report, which provides an overview of the emerging system of home visiting programs serving families with young children in Rhode Island. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT compiled this report and works with state partners to advocates for expansion of evidence-based programs that improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. The effort to establish and sustain the home visiting system has involved strong cross-agency partnerships and funding support from the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

National Report Shows Slight Improvement in Child Care Assistance Policies
The National Women's Law Center released their annual review of child care assistance policies in all fifty states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. This year’s report, Pivot Point: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2013, shows that the situation for families improved in slightly more states than it worsened between February 2012 and February 2013.

Report Provides Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework
Early experiences in childhood lay the foundation for later success. The relationships, environments, and supports that children experience have a profound impact on their development because critical neurological and biological systems grow most rapidly in these earliest years. State policies can help build a strong foundation that puts young children, particularly vulnerable young children, on a path to success. The Alliance for Early Success developed the Birth Through Age Eight State Policy Framework as a tool, or roadmap, that can inform decision-making and guide policy choices.

Research shows link between pre-K and high school graduation
ReadyNation recently released a new brief, The Vital Link: Early Childhood Investment is the First Step to High School Graduation. Looking at recent research, this brief shows the crucial link between early childhood education and high school graduation. Studies since the 1960s have shown that high quality preschool can dramatically improve high school graduation rates and college attendance for participants relative to their peers.

Video Highlights the Importance of Early Education
Watch this new video from the the Raising of America project, an effort to reframe the way we look at early child health and development. Are We Crazy About Our Kids? The Cost/Benefit Equation explores the economics of investing in high quality early care and preschool.

New Report Highlights States' Plans to Prioritize Data Systems to Improve Early Learning Outcomes
A new brief, Developing Coordinated Longitudinal Early Childhood Data Systems: Trends and Opportunities in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Applications, from the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC), analyzes the state proposals, including Rhode Island's, and finds that an overwhelming majority prioritized building and using better data systems to improve early learning outcomes; however, future implementation remains unclear as only six states received funding to implement their priorities.

NFP Report Released
The RI Department of Health, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and other key partners, released the 2012 Nurse-Family Partnership Program Report, the first report from Rhode Island's new Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting system. The report features data from the Nurse-Family Partnership program's  first 18 months of implementation in Rhode Island by Children's Friend. 

New Report Highlights Pre-K as Cost-Effective Intervention Strategy
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy's new report - Return on Investment: Evidence-Based Options to Improve Statewide Outcomes - highlights several evidence-based programs and policies that have been proven to improve outcomes for children, including Pre-K and the Nurse-Family Partnership. 

Zero to Three Releases Rhode Island "Baby Facts"
Zero to Three's series of factsheets for each of the 50 states, including Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia provide information for early childhood professionals and policymakers about the status of infants, toddlers, and families in their state. The State Baby Facts present infant and toddler data in the framework of good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences.

National Report Commends RI's Pre-Kindergarten Program
A new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) - The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook - commends Rhode Island’s state-funded Pre-K Program. According to the report, Rhode Island’s Pre-K Program is one of the few programs in the nation to achieve all 10 of NIEER’s benchmarks for quality standards. The report shows that Rhode Island’s pre-K program, while only serving about one percent of the state’s 4-year-olds, is still a young pilot program with room to grow. State spending decreased only slightly, from $5,667 per child in the 2009-2010 school year to $5,556 in the 2010-2011 school year, which ranks the Ocean State 9th in the nation for state resources per child devoted to preschool education.

Second Round of Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Announced
The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services invited Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin to apply for the second round of Early Learning Challenge grant funding to help them strengthen their early care and education systems. These states, which had the next highest scores after Rhode Island and the eight other states awarded grants in the first round of the Early Learning Challenge, can apply for a portion of $133 million from FY 2012 Race to the Top funding. Each state will be eligible to receive up to 50 percent of potential award amount for which it was eligible last year. The remaining portion of the overall $550 million allocated for Race to the Top in FY 2012 will be used for a district-level competition. Click to read the news release.

New Policy Briefs Provide Latest Information on Early Head Start, Head Start
CLASP released two new reports based on the latest Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) data from the 2010 program year. The policy briefs provide the latest information on children, families, teachers, and programs in Head Start, as well as information on key changes over time. Click to read the report on the status of Early Head Start - Supporting Our Youngest Children: Early Head Start Programs in 2010 - or  the report on the status of Head Start - Putting Children and Families First: Head Start Programs in 2010.

Emotional Support Important for Mothers in Disadvantaged Families
Rearing children can be difficult for any parent, but parents who experience social and economic disadvantages may face additional challenges. Child Trends' latest research brief, Disadvantaged Families and Child Outcomes: The Importance of Emotional Support for Mothers, found that emotional support for mothers improves outcomes for children, even when controlling for family structure, income, gender, race/ethnicity, and child's age. Children whose mothers reported receiving emotional support during childrearing were more likely to be engaged in school and exhibit social competence than children whose mothers did not receive emotional support.

New Research Findings on the Readiness Gap Between Wealthy and Poor Children 
The Brookings Institute recently published a new report, Starting School at a Disadvantage: The School Readiness of Poor Children, which shows that only 48% of poor children are ready for school at age five, compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income, a 27 percentage point gap. The report discusses why poor children are less ready for school and evaluates three interventions that can improve their school readiness.

New Report Examines Early Education Workforce
A new study, released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), describes steps being taken toward improving early care and education workforce data and enhancing workforce quality. Using a variety of state and federal interviews and data sets, the GAO examined current information about the composition, education, and income of the ECE workforce. The GAO looked at how these characteristics relate to quality of services and what activities and initiatives are underway by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education.

New report provides an in-depth look at Quality Rating and Improvement Systems nationwide
The National Women's Law Center and CLASP released a new report - A Count for Quality: Child Care Center Directors on Rating and Improvement Systems. The report was written based on interviews with a diverse group of child care center directors who have a range of experience participating in QRIS in nine different states. The insights offered by child care directors are particularly valuable as an increasing number of states adopt QRIS and the federal Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge competitive grant program highlights QRIS as a central component of strong state early learning systems.

Report details child care assistance policies in all 50 states
A new report - State Child Care Assistance Policies 2011: Reduced Support for Families in Challenging Times - examines the impact of policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report compares data from February 2011 to data from February 2010 and 2001. Unfortunately, the report shows that families are not only worse off in 2011 than they were in 2010, but are also worse off than a decade ago. Child care assistance is essential in helping low-income families afford reliable child care.

Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care
Child care providers are often early witnesses to the signs of developmental problems that may impact children in their care, but they often lack the capacity or training to identify a problem, discuss concerns with families, and guide families in seeking related services. In Rhode Island, early childhood stakeholders have created and funded a collaborative initiative, known as Watch Me Grow RI, that helps build that capacity, and better serve children in participating child care programs.

LAUP Study Finds a Higher Rate of School Readiness
A study of kids who attended Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) classrooms found that after one year of pre-K, 72 percent of children tested for near proficiency in school readiness skills, including social expression and self-regulation, compared to 22 percent when they started. The gains were particularly significant for English Language Learners (ELLs). They started the year with lower school readiness skills than their non-ELL peers, but after a year of LAUP pre-K, the gap had closed.

State Child Care Efforts Fact Sheet
The National Women's Law Center has released state-by-state fact sheets regarding childcare efforts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The National Women's Law Center makes efforts to support women in the workforce by advocating for early education and child care. The Rhode Island fact sheet focuses on using federal grants to invest in improving early child care for infants and toddlers as well as improving the quality of early education.

Washington Post Series on Early Care and Education
The Washington Post conducted a series of interviews regarding early child care and education. The interviews of Edward Zigler, James Heckman, Raj Chetty, Sara Mead, and Danielle Ewen covered a range of issues including Head Start and the Early Learning Challege Fund. The series placed an emphasis on the importance of funding early childhood education initiatives.

New Report Highlights Strategies for Boosting Pre-K Quality
After reviewing the current strategies for improving pre-k teaching quality, there is a stronger push for new improvement strategies. The article advocates for more professional development for teachers and focuses on the implementation of two models of teacher development, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM). The implementation of these two models may not prove to be successful enough in improving the quality of pre-k teaching, but the report has stimulated discussion on the issue.

BrightStars Honors Early Learning Programs
December 8, 2010 - More than 300 early care and education program directors, early childhood teachers, community leaders and policy makers gathered at the Starry, Starry Night event to celebrate and salute the early learning programs that have joined BrightStars, Rhode Island's Quality Rating and Improvement System. There are 77 programs which serve more than 1,800 children participating in BrightStars. Read the Providence Journal article and view photos from the event. For more information about the program, go to www.BrightStars.org.

Release of Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters Issue Brief
Read Rhode Island KIDS COUNT's latest Issue Brief entitled Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. The Issue Brief covers the development of early literacy skills from birth through grade three, data on early literacy achievement in Rhode Island and recommendations for improving reading proficiency rates in the early grades. Read the article, Most RI Fourth Graders Not Proficient in Reading, or view the press release.

Visitation program launched for at-risk mothers
Read the article, Home visitation program launched for at-risk mothers, in the Providence Business News. The article is about Rhode Island KIDS COUNT's press conference recognizing US Senator Jack Reed for his leadership in securing federal funding for the Nurse-Family Partnership Initiative, an evidence-based home visiting program that helps first-time parents succeed. View photos from the event  and the episode of the Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Cable Television Show featuring nurses from Children's Friend discussing the NFP initiative.

New England Voter's Guide
The New England Alliance for Children's Health just released results of a regional candidate questionnaire on a variety of issues affecting New England's children and families. To find out where candidates stand on issues affecting children and families, view the Voter's Guide.

Are All America’s Children Reading Proficiency Above Average?
According to a new Voices for America's Children report, only one-third of American fourth-graders read at a proficient level, but according to state assessments, school performance is excellent. The report presents national and state-by-state data, and explores the answer to the following question: Are all America’s children really above average? Read the Voices’ analysis.

Why Reading By Third Grade Matters
Read the newly released KIDS COUNT Special Report, Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. According to the report, reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical benchmark in a child’s educational development. Millions of American children reach fourth grade without learning to read proficiently. Read about why reading matters and what we can do to raise the bar and close the gap for children in Rhode Island in the new KIDS COUNT Special Report.

State Preschool YearbookThe State of Preschool 2009
Findings in The State of Preschool 2009: State Preschool Yearbook include a decrease in progress in three key dimensions of state funded preschool nationally - enrollment, quality standards and resources. The report highlights the fact that although Rhode Island’s preschoolers were not offered access to state-funded pre-k education during the 2008-2009 school year, the state has since launched a Pre-K Demonstration Program in four urban communities, providing pre-K to a small number of preschoolers.

New Report Highlights Child Care and Preschool Quality in RI
A new report highlights the quality of child care centers and preschools in RI. According to the report, 86% of classrooms serving preschool-age children and 74% of classrooms serving infants and toddlers were providing "medium quality" care. While only 10% of preschool classrooms and 6% of infant-toddler classrooms were providing "high quality" programs that would be expected to improve child development and promote early learning. View highlights from the report in a powerpoint presentation and the press release.

State Officials Visit Pre-K Demonstration Classrooms
View pictures from the tour of the new pre-k classrooms at Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center and Ready 2 Learn Providence at the Community College of Rhode Island. Governor Donald L. Carcieri, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist, Senator Juan Pichardo, Representative Grace Diaz and community leaders toured the two new classrooms; the classes are part of the state's newly launched Pre-K Demonstration Program.

Early Head Start Program Expanding in Rhode Island
The Early Head Start Program is a comprehensive early childhood program serving low-income children birth to age three, pregnant women, and their families. Funded almost entirely by the federal government, Early Head start is designed to provide high-quality early care and education and comprehensive services to infants and toddlers, and promote healthy birth outcomes for women.Recently, Children's Friend (one of five providers of Early Head Start in RI) announced it will be able to serve an additional 62 children and families in Pawtucket.  Click here to read the Providence Journal article accompanying the announcement.

Report Applauds Rhode Island Lawmakers for Investing in High Quality Pre-K
Rhode Island became one of two states to approve new pre-k programs in state fiscal year 2010, according to a state-by-state analysis by Pre-K Now. The report, Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010, evaluates state budgets to determine which legislatures count voluntary, high quality pre-k among their top education reform strategies. View the report press release and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant's statement on the report.

Decoding the Economic Stimulus for Early Care and Education in Rhode Island
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 contains provisions for funding that have the potential to improve early care and education in Rhode Island, including more available funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the Early Head Start program, IDEA and Title 1 funding. View a powerpoint presentation prepared by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT explaining the current early care and education system in Rhode Island and opportunities within ARRA to increase investment in Rhode Island's youngest children.

Finding a Standards-Based Preschool
Download the recently released brochure for parents entitled, Early Learning Standards Project: What Parents Should Know About Standards-Based Education for Preschoolers in English and in SpanishRhode Island's Early Learning Standards were developed to provide guidance to parents, teachers and administrators on what children should know before they enter Kindergarten.


School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps, Policymakers and Practitioners Conference
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT co-sponsored a one day conference at the Brown University Faculty Club entitled School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps to share findings of the Princeton University / Brookings Institution Future of Children Journal volume on School Readiness. Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, co-author and editor of the volumne, shared the findings of the journal with over 100 participants. Download the agenda, press release or Dr. Brooks-Gunn's presentation.

Successful Start

Release of Successful Start: Rhode Island's Early Childhood Systems Plan
The RI Department of Health released the Plan at a breakfast event attended by more than 120 Rhode Island leaders in the early childhood field. A panel of state department directors commented on their plans for implementing key recommendations in the plan. The Successful Start strategic plan was developed by the RI Department of Health and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.

Getting Ready: Findings From the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative A 17 State Partnership
This report focuses on key indicators used to determine the health development and well-being of young children. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT was the lead agency for the 17-state National School Readiness Indicators Initiative. Read the Executive Summary   and Elizabeth Burke Bryant's and Catherine Walsh's article in The Evaluation Exchange.

Rhode Island Early Learning Standards
 The Early Learning Standards were released in December 2003 by the Rhode Island Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Human Services, along with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.  A "tool kit" of fun activites for pre-schoolers will be available soon. Read the Early Learning Standards in English and in Spanish.