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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Statement on the Signing of the FY23 State Budget

  • June 2022. “The budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor today includes many important, equitable investments in children and families that will improve child outcomes and Rhode Island’s future success,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.

    “Rhode Island’s leadership for children’s health insurance took a major step forward with passage of Cover All Kids that expands eligibility so that all low-income Rhode Island children can access RIte Care health insurance coverage, regardless of immigration status. The budget also extends postpartum RIte Care coverage to 12 months regardless of immigration status – a critical policy for both new mothers and their infants. We also were pleased to see that the budget includes key investments in access to high quality child care, mental health, and affordable housing –critical needs that became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic."

    "Importantly, the budget also includes essential rate increases for child care, Early Intervention, First Connections, community-based programs serving children in the care of DCYF, pediatrics and other essential health and human service rate increases to address the workforce crisis and ensure that children and families can access the services they need. Also in the budget were improvements to RI Works, inclusion of the SNAP healthy food program, and funding for a female youth Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility."

    "Finally, the budget includes a much-needed Medicaid Rate Review/Rate Setting process and a plan for the doubling of RI-Pre-K seats within five years. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT thanks Governor McKee, the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate for their work on this budget that includes so many vital investments in Rhode Island’s children and families.”

     

Reaffirming: We Stand in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

  • May 2022. We add the horrific massacre in Buffalo to the unacceptable list of violence against the Black community. We stand in solidarity with Black children, Black families, and Black communities. 
     
    This is trauma Black communities face on a regular basis due to racism, hate, and oppression. Please see our full statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter here, or below.

In Support of Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

  • March 2021. We are Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and we love, respect, and advocate for all children and families. To our Asian American Pacific Islander families, please know that you are valued, you are important, and we will always stand with you. We stand in full support with the AAPI community in this dark hour. Our heart breaks for you, our hearts are with you, and we will not stop talking about the burden that you have been unfairly forced to bear. 

    Let us be very clear. We condemn the white supremacy underpinning the violent attacks in Atlanta, as well as the systemic racism that allows – encourages - deadly hate. 

    While we are specifically addressing the murders in Atlanta, it is crucial to note the intersectionality of hate crimes. White supremacy has inflicted violence on the Black community, the immigrant community, the LGBTQ community, the Latino community, and many others. White supremacy is an imbalance of power that thrives on keeping others at a disadvantage, looked down upon, the target, characterized as problematic. 

    Hate crimes do not occur in a vacuum. Deadly violence is the crescendo of prejudice and bias, supported by hateful ideology and the structures of white supremacy. 

    We are committed to partnering with communities to dismantle structural racism and advocate for the antiracist policies needed to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children and close unacceptable disparities by race, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, zip code, neighborhood, and income. 

On Reopening Schools

  • August 2020. The conversation about reopening schools - and whether learning will be distance, hybrid, or in-person - is weighing heaving on the minds of many, many families across Rhode Island and across the country. It's complex, and it's deeply personal for each family, student, and educator.

    Reopening schools is firmly rooted in each and every issue area we work on: health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children.

    Reopening schools also sits directly at the intersection of our core values of equity, student-centered learning, and parent voice. In policy and in practice, equity is not a one size fits all approach, The worsening of disparities during the upcoming school year is a deep concern.

    In the upcoming weeks as decisions are made about reopening, we hope for plans to be flexible, data-informed, and student-centered - driven both by science and community voice.

    We hope for transparency in decision making, implementation, and accountability. We hope for families to have the information they need to make the best decision for their family, and for their children. Information and state and district plans for reopening is available at www.backtoschoolri.com. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT will continue to share information as this process unfolds.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

  • June 2020. Once again, our country is confronted with the tragic consequences of systemic racism that undergird our society. The blatantly racist and false accusations of violence against Christian Cooper; the modern-day lynching of Ahmaud Aubery while jogging; the killing of Breonna Taylor by police officers in her own home; and most recently, the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer while fellow officers looked on. These are only the most recent manifestations of the racism that has plagued our country since its inception - and it must stop now.

    Rhode Island KIDS COUNT’s Board of Directors and staff stand in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement demanding acknowledgement and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of Black life at the hands of the police and societ at-large. During times like this, we want to affirm the feelings the Black community is experiencing now. They are real. They are valid. We especially want to acknowledge the grief Black families are experiencing now and the fear they live with every day.

    Platitudes and words are not enough. For far too long, handwringing has accompanied racial injustice without meaningful change. As an organization that works to hold policies and systems accountable to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Rhode Island children, we must continually reflect on our own organizational practices. As a result, we are committed to continuously and critically examining our hiring practices, internal processes, and methods of advocating.

    We believe that every child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed. Concretely, this means a safe place to call home, access to comprehensive health care, high-quality affordable child care, and an excellent education -- as well as love, respect, and the promise of tomorrow. And yet, this is not the case for many Black children. As an organization that is continually raising up racial and ethnic disparities -- including youth exposure to violence, youth involvement in the juvenile justice system, and as advocates for youth and community voice -- we must speak up and out and support the need and right of communities closest to the situation to have a voice in the solution. Centuries of racism and purposefully constructed systems of oppression have actively silenced Black people and created the unacceptable racial inequities we see across Rhode Island and the country. Failure to act with urgency and intentionality will continue to put the safety, protection, and opportunity Black children and families deserve at risk.

    Racism and systematic oppression are pervasive and persistent, and it is here in our communities. While the slew of recent tragedies have not taken place in Rhode Island, it is important to note that we are not exempt from injustice, racism, and upholding systems that elevate White voices and priorities. We stand in solidarity with the communities directly affected and ask that each Rhode Islander turn a critical eye inward. We call on White individuals who are elected officials, advocates, and in positions of power and influence to reflect on their own privilege and positionality.

    As Rhode Islanders, we need to move forward together, with urgency, to enact new policies and change old ones that will help to ensure equity in education, health, safety, and economic well-being for Black children and their families.

    In Solidarity,
    Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Board and Staff

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

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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903

Contact

401-351-9400
401-351-1758
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