Child Welfare in Rhode Island

Positive early experiences are critical to healthy development. During the first years of life, children’s brains develop rapidly as they acquire the abilities to think, speak, learn, and reason.

Child Welfare IllustrationEarly childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a profound influence on the brain’s physical development. A safe, supportive environment beginning in infancy and continuing through early childhood is critical for children to grow to their fullest potential.

Providing a child with a safe and stable living situation can offset or avert any number of negative influences that impact behavior, academic achievement, and the formation of secure relationships.

Our Publications

Factbook Indicators

Issue Briefs

  • Children's Mental Health in Rhode Island, October 2022
    Mental health in childhood and adolescence is defined as reaching expected developmental, cognitive, social, and emotional milestones and the ability to use effective coping skills. Mental health influences children’s physical health as well as their behavior at home, in school, and in the community. Mental health conditions can impair daily functioning, prevent or affect academic achievement, increase involvement with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, result in high treatment costs, diminish family incomes, and increase the risk for suicide. This publication discusses the data and research about children's mental health, and offers recommendations for improving the behavioral care system and supporting families.
  • Child Neglect and Abuse in Rhode Island: Prevention and Support for Children and Families, March 2022
    Children need love, affection, and nurturing from their parents and caregivers for healthy physical and emotional development from birth through adolescence. However, parents and caregivers may have difficulty providing this support and may be at increased risk of maltreating their children if they are overwhelmed by multiple risk factors such as poverty, substance abuse, intergenerational trauma, isolation, or unstable housing. This publication discusses the data and research about child neglect and abuse, and offers recommendations for prevention and to support children and families involved in the child welfare system.
  • Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System in Rhode Island, February 2019
    The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are a time of great opportunity and great vulnerability. Experiences during the first three years are critical to healthy brain development and positive relationships with parents and caregivers and lay the foundation for social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development. Nationally and in Rhode Island, very young children are more likely to experience abuse and neglect than older children. In Rhode Island in 2018, nearly one in four victims of child abuse and neglect were infants and toddlers under age three (856 out of 3,505 victims).
  • Adolescents in the Child Welfare System in Rhode Island, October 2017
    The Issue Brief presents data and analysis on adolescents in the child welfare system, including maltreatment and trauma, supports specifically for teens, and issues related to youth exiting the child welfare system through aging out or achieving permanency. The Issue Brief also includes recommendations to best support adolescents in the child welfare system, to ensure healthy development and a healthy transition to adulthood.
  • Preventing Bullying in Rhode Island Schools, December 2016
    Bullying behavior is a social, educational, and health problem that affects many children and adolescents in Rhode Island and in the U.S. Youth involved in bullying can experience higher rates of mental health problems, aggression, suicide, drug use, school absence, physical health problems, and cognitive functioning during childhood and adolescence as well as into adulthood. National, statewide, and community-specific information is presented, along with recommendations to prevent bullying in Rhode Island schools.
  • Young Children in the Child Welfare System, December 2015
    In Rhode Island and in the U.S., young children under age 6 are more likely to experience maltreatment (neglect or abuse) than older children. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships in the first years of life are fundamental for healthy brain development. Child maltreatment disrupts the development of the brain and biological systems, resulting in short-term harm and long-term negative outcomes.

    Young Children in the Child Welfare System provides an overview of data on child maltreatment, how the child welfare system responds to abuse and neglect, the role of kinship and non-kinship foster homes, and includes recommendations for keeping children safe and meeting their developmental needs.
  • Safety, Permanency and Well-being for Children in the Care of DCYF, November 2011
    This report gives data and information on Rhode Island’s child welfare system, including the number of children in out-of-home placement, entering and exiting foster care and achieving permanency.

The Child Welfare Fact Sheet Series

Special Publications

  • Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting, October 2015 – Healthy brain development depends on attentive, nurturing caregiving in infancy and early childhood. Research shows that there is a negative impact on brain development when young children do not have consistent, supportive relationships with caregivers and are exposed to “toxic stress.” Providing early and intensive support to families with multiple risk factors improves child development outcomes. This report includes data and information on infants born with key risk factors, and provides a comprehensive overview of Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting Programs in Rhode Island.

Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice E-News

Related Rhode Island KIDS COUNT TV Shows

Related Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Resources

Additional Resources

Rhode Island


  • Annie E. Casey Foundation National Data Center – Safety & Risky Behaviors Indicators
    Rhode Island KIDS COUNT contributes data to the national KIDS COUNT Data Center, which is managed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The national KIDS COUNT Data Center connects you to over four million data points about the well-being of children and families in each state and across the country. You can easily access hundreds of indicators related to health, education, employment and income, child welfare, and many other topics. The Data Center is free and available to all.
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals as well as the public to information, resources, and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more. Child Welfare Information Gateway is a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Child Welfare League of America is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving children and families that are vulnerable.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children.


Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
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Providence, RI 02903


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