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What's New

Registration Open for Obesity Policy Brief

Please join us for the virtual release of our newest Policy Brief on June 25! We will be releasing Childhood Overweight and Obesity: Updated Data and Three-Year Trends for Rhode Island on June 25, from 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Register here for the event.
 

School Climate policy roundtable

In January of 2021, the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program and ExcelinEd released A Policymakers School Climate Playbook: Creating Opportunities for Meaningful Student Engagement. This report provides a clear set of recommendations to guide policymakers in building a comprehensive and coherent statewide approach for improving school climate. These strategies will help to increase equity so all students have access to a healthy and positive school climate. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT held a policy roundtable on Monday, June 7 to discuss how to build a comprehensive and coherent statewide approach for improving school climate here in Rhode Island. Please see the event recording here
 

Now Available: The 2021 Factbook!

The 2021 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook is now available. The Factbook provides a statistical portrait of the status of Rhode Island's children and families, incorporating the best available research and data. Information is presented for the state of Rhode Island, each city and town, and an aggregate of the four core cities (cities with the highest child poverty rates). The Factbook tracks the progress of 70 indicators, across five areas of child well-being. Please see the full Factbook, executive summary, media release, and release event recording! To order a hard copy, please use this form.
  • The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Rhode Island Children: In this year’s Factbook, we highlight the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Rhode Island children and families’ economic well-being, physical and mental health, safety, access to education, and educational outcomes as well as the strategies that the federal government, state government, and community agencies have put in place to support Rhode Island children and families during the pandemic.
  • Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Throughout the Factbook, data on racial and ethnic disparities are presented in as many indicators as possible and summarized in the Racial and Ethnic Disparities indicator. Collecting and reporting on data disaggregated by race and ethnicity is an important first step to identifying ways to eliminate them. Data on disparities and information about the historical and systemic racism that has resulted in these disparities can be used to identify policies to dismantle racism and reduce and eliminate disparities.
 

New Policy Brief: Early Intervention in Rhode Island 

Infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and those who face significant family circumstances need extra help and should receive high-quality Early Intervention services to develop essential language, social-emotional, and motor skills to reduce the need for services when they are older. Effective Early Intervention services help children make developmental progress and can help them catch up with their peers. Researchers have found that about one-third of infants and toddlers who received Early Intervention no longer had a developmental delay, disability, or special education need in kindergarten. Please see our full publication here and the virtual release event and discussion here.
 
 

FY 2022 Budget Analysis 

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, Governor Daniel McKee released his proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has prepared the following Analysis of the Governor's Proposed FY 2022 Budget. The Governor's proposed budget includes many items that will affect the well-being of Rhode Island's children and families. 
     
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT will be tracking bills and budget items that relate to children and youth throughout the 2021 legislative session.  We invite you to check out important legislation and upcoming hearings and read our public testimony on behalf of Rhode Island's children, youth, and families. 

 

2020 Legislative Wrap-Up

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the 2020 legislative session very few hearings were held after mid-March and few bills were passed and signed into law. The budget, which is normally passed and signed into law in late June, was not passed and signed into law until late December.

 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is pleased to share our 2020 Legislative Wrap-Up! This highlights legislative victories for children and summarizes selected laws and budget appropriations in the areas of economic well-being, early learning and development, education, health, and safety that were considered during the 2020 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly. We hope this is a helpful resource as you continue your work on behalf of Rhode Island's children and families.

 

Rhode Island Reads Partner Meeting: Virtual

On Tuesday, December 15, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and United Way of Rhode Island coordinated Rhode Island Reads' virtual partner meeting. Please see the event agendaDr. Shantel Meek's Presentation - Start With Equity: From the Early Years to the Early Grades; our Call to Action; and Equity Considerations for Policymakers and Practitioners. You can also listen to the event recording here!
 

Kids, Families and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and the Urgent Need to Respond

Rhode Island performed well on access to health care but is falling short on housing stability,  mental health, and child hunger according to Kids, Families and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and a Roadmap for Recovery, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how families are faring during the COVID-19 crisis. This KIDS COUNT report examined data from weekly surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that demonstrate how families across the country are challenged to meet basic needs during this global public health crisis while managing school, work, and mental health. The Foundation finds that the concurrent health and economic crises are exacerbating trends that show vulnerable families are unable to fulfill basic needs. Please see the media release, full report, and coverage in Uprise RI.
 

Child Hunger in Rhode Island

The importance of nutrition to child development cannot be overstated. Hunger and lack of regular access to sufficient food are linked to serious physical, psychological, emotional, and academic problems in children and can interfere with their growth and development. Food insecurity is a method to measure and assess the risk of hunger.  Please see our newest Issue Brief focused on nutrition and child hunger, the release event recording and the release event presentation, as well as our media release.
 

New Bilingual Fact Sheet on Family Child Care 

  • Family child care, or paid child care that takes place in the home of a licensed provider, is an essential part of the child care and early learning system in Rhode Island and nationally. It is particularly important for infants and toddlers, children of color, and low-income families.
  • The Fact Sheet offers recommendations in three key areas: (1) Stabilize the family child care system, (2) Invest in staffed family child care networks, and (3) Include family child care in the state's comprehensive, mixed-delivery early care and education system. 
  • Recognizing the fact that many family child care providers speak Spanish only or speak both English and Spanish, we have made this Fact Sheet available in both English and Spanish.
 

Annual Celebration of Children's Health

About 200 community leaders, elected officials, and health care advocates gathered virtually on November 16, 2020 for the 20th annual Celebration of Children’s Health to reflect on the progress that Rhode Island has made in achieving positive health outcomes for children — including the fact that Rhode Island is now ranked second best in the nation for children’s health coverage.

 

Jennifer Jencks, Ph.D., Director of the Access Center at Bradley Hospital, and Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa are this year’s recipients of the Covering Kids Award. Dr. Jencks oversees Kids’ Link RI, a 24/7 hotline for parents and caregivers seeking information on behavioral health services for children and youth in crisis. She was honored for the work she is doing to ensure that children and families have access to critical mental and behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa was presented an award for his leadership in putting the health and well-being of Central Falls' children front and center during his time as mayor and for his strong advocacy on race equity, meeting the health needs of immigrant children and their families, and the 2020 Census. Please see our media release, the event presentation, and the full event recording.

 

Trends in Tobacco Use Among Rhode Island Youth

E-cigarettes are devices that allow users to inhale an aerosol which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives or chemicals. Both middle and high school students report using e-cigarettes at much higher rates than traditional cigarettes. From 2017 to 2019, the percentage of Rhode Island high school students using e-cigarettes increased from 20% to 30%, while cigarette use continued to decline. Please see the event recording, Providence Business News coverage, and Providence Journal coverage. Please see the full Tobacco Fact Sheets for information on:

Youth, Family, and Community-Based Approaches to Equity in Education

The Rhode Island public education system has been plagued by racism since its founding in the early 1800s, and the inequities that developed as a result continue to be one of Rhode Island’s greatest challenges. Youth voice, family engagement, mental and behavioral health supports, expanded learning opportunities, and student-centered instruction all have a positive impact on student outcomes and when integrated into the design and implementation of schools can help address inequities in education based on race, ethnicity, and income. Creating policies and practices that are racially aware, that incorporate a whole child approach, and that recognize and address the cognitive impacts of trauma can help address equity. This new report provides recommendations on how schools can develop and sustain strong partnerships with students, families, and communities to promote excellent, equitable, and sustained school improvement efforts. For more, please see the release event recording and our media release.
 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Makes Data Local in Newport

At the Newport Data in Your Backyard virtual event on October 6, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Deputy Director Stephanie Geller led a data-driven discussion on the well-being of Newport children and families. The presentation’s data comes from the 2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook, and includes improvements and declines in economic well-being, education, health, child welfare, and safety. The event was brought to the community in collaboration with Newport Partnership for Families and BankNewport. For more information, please see the presentation, media releaseevent recording, Newport Daily News coverage, and What's Up Newport coverage.
 

New Report! Policies and Practices Supporting Student-Centered Learning in Rhode Island: School Climate 

This new report uses an equity lens to look at policies, practices, and measures of school climate, including student mental and behavioral health. The report suggests actions we can take to ensure that all students, particularly students of color, low-income students, differently-abled students and Multilingual Learners, are in schools that prioritize strong relationships between students and educators and promote excellent, equitable learning while also ensuring student safety and emotional well-being. For more, please see the media release and release event recording.
 

New Census Data on Health Insurance Coverage and Poverty Shows: 

  • 98.1% of Rhode Island children had health insurance coverage in 2019, Rhode Island ranks 2nd best among states, up from 3rd last year. Please see the full media release for more.
  • 14.0% of Rhode Island’s children lived in poverty in 2019. COVID-19 expected to result in large increase in child poverty and existing racial and ethnic disparities in 2020 and beyond. Please see the full media release for more.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Statement on the 2020 Census

The Census shapes the lives of Americans in a variety of ways -- the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding; determining congressional representation; and planning at the federal, state, and community level.

Certain populations have historically been undercounted in the decennial Census, including young children under age five, people of color, immigrants, low-income populations, people experiencing homelessness, people living in non-traditional households, people with disabilities, and people who distrust the government. Targeted, specific outreach and engagement will help us get a complete and accurate count of these populations in the 2020 Census.

We can’t overstate this: young children under age 5 are the most highly and consistently undercounted population. Children who aren't counted in the 2020 Census won't be counted again until they are in high school - or even college and beyond. This means that potential funding to enrich their entire childhood will be lost. Ensuring an accurate count is critical, so that our communities are appropriately funded, and Rhode Islanders are accurately represented! Please click here for our full statement.
 

Equity Analysis of Rhode Island School Reopening Plans

Closing unacceptable, wide, and persistent gaps for differently-abled students, students of color, low-income students, Multilingual Learners, students in foster care, and students experiencing homelessness must be Rhode Island’s most urgent educational priority. This analysis reviews how Rhode Island district reopening plans address equity by examining how plans meet the needs of specific groups.
 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Statement on Reopening Schools 

The conversation about reopening schools -- and whether learning will be distance, hybrid, or in-person -- is weighing heavily on the minds of many, many families across Rhode Island and the country. It's complex and deeply personal for each family, student, and educator. Reopening schools sits directly at the intersection of our core values of equity, student-centered learning, and parent voice. With that in mind, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT issued this statement to inform the conversation. Information on state and district plans for reopening is available at www.back2schoolri.com. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT will continue to share information as this process unfolds.

 

Two New Child Welfare Fact Sheets

  • Rhode Island’s Voluntary Extension of Care Program: Update provides updated data on the Voluntary Extension of Care (VEC) program that was established to allow youth previously in the care of the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) to voluntarily participate in extended services until age 21. The report provides data on education, employment, and housing outcomes, information on recent Executive Orders allowing youth eligible for extended foster care to continue receiving services during the COVID-19 public health crisis, and recommendations for providing the tailored supports and services that youth need through DCYF’s VEC and Foster Forward’s YESS Aftercare programs. 
  • Achieving Race Equity in the Child Welfare System provides data on racial and ethnic disparities in child welfare in Rhode Island (including data on indicated investigations, likelihood of out-of-home placement, type of out-of-home placement, and children reaching permanency), information on the potential causes of these disparities, and recommendations for achieving race equity in the child welfare system.

National KIDS COUNT Data Book

This week, The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2020 edition of the national KIDS COUNT® Data Book, an annually published resource that tracks child well-being nationally and state by state and ranks the states accordingly. As always, the report is based on the latest available data for 16 key indicators. This year, Rhode Island ranks 26th for overall child well-being. Rhode Island’s profile with additional information about rankings in the areas of Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community is available in both English and Spanish.

The data for the 2020 report are 2018 data, so they do not reflect current conditions amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The Casey Foundation plans to explore the effects of the pandemic on child well-being in a future report but is releasing the annual Data Book as usual to ensure legislators and other policymakers, researchers and advocates for children have the information they are customarily able to access at this time of year. 
 

Hard-Copy Factbooks Now Available!

The 2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook charts improvements and declines in the well-being of Rhode Island’s 203,908 children with a core focus on equity. Information is presented for the state of Rhode Island, each city and town, and an aggregate of the four core cities (cities in which more than 25% of the children live in poverty). The Factbook allows us to take stock of where Rhode Island effectively supports children’s development and where we need to focus increased attention and efforts. 

New Issue Brief: Child Poverty in Rhode Island

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, we released our latest Issue Brief: Child Poverty in Rhode Island. Reflections were provided by Congressman David Cicilline, Sharon Conard-Wells (Housing Network of Rhode Island), Courtney Hawkins (Rhode Island Department of Human Services), Linda Katz (The Economic Progress Institute), and Nirva LaFortune (Providence City Council). This report highlights the far-reaching negative impacts of poverty on children and families, as well as extensive recommendations to address the issue. An increase in child poverty and widening racial and ethnic disparities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious concern. Please see the media release, full publication, and the release event video.
 

New Early Learning Fact Sheets

  • Funding Safe, Healthy, Quality Child Care provides data on children’s access to quality care and education in Rhode Island and the hourly funding levels for various ages of children across different public funding streams (Child Care Assistance Program, Head Start, RI Pre-K, K-12) and the median private tuition for licensed child care and early learning programs. Inadequate public funding levels, low staff education and compensation, and inconsistent monitoring and support for quality improvement are key barriers to improving access to quality child care. Challenges for child care programs operating during the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighted.
  • Access to High-Quality, Publicly-Funded Preschool provides data on the number of three-year-olds and four-year-olds in Rhode Island who were served in either Head Start or RI Pre-K. There are an estimated 7,454 four-year-olds (of which 2,645 were from low-income families) who were not enrolled in high-quality, publicly-funded preschool this year. The estimated number of unserved four-year-olds is provided for every city and town in the state.

 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

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 society 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. Please read our full statement here.

 

Virtual Strolling Thunder RI and Child Care Day

On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT facilitated Strolling Thunder RI in partnership with RIght From the Start. Although we can’t physically make it to the State House for our annual advocacy event, that couldn't stop our army of parents and cute kids from “virtually strolling” to push for policies and legislation to ensure that ALL Rhode Island kids, regardless of zip code, race, ethnicity, or family income, get off to the right start in life. 
  • Please see the activity on Twitter, the activity on Facebook, and amazing Facebook live Capitol TV broadcast
  • Click here to learn more about the RIght from the Start Campaign’s policy priorities.  
  • RIght from the Start is a campaign to advance policies for young children and their families in Rhode Island. RIght from the Start Steering Committee members include Beautiful Beginnings, Economic Progress Institute, Latino Policy Institute, Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health, Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association.
 

Virtual Release: Updated Child Overweight and Obesity Policy Brief

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, in partnership with the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute and the Center for Health Data and Analysis at the Rhode Island Department of Health held a virtual dialogue on newly available child overweight and obesity data. At the event, we released our latest Policy Brief -- Childhood Overweight and Obesity: Updated Data for Rhode Island. For more information, please see the full publication, media release, and the virtual release event recording.

 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Releases 26th Annual Factbook Focusing on the Status of Rhode Island’s Children

The 2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook charts improvements and declines in the well-being of Rhode Island’s 203,908 children with a core focus on equity. The Factbook allows us to take stock of where Rhode Island effectively supports children’s development and where we need to focus increased attention and efforts. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having and will have on Rhode Islanders, particularly our most vulnerable children and families. Exacerbating racial and ethnic and economic disparities as a result of this crisis is a serious concern.

 

The information presented in the 2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook can help our state and local leaders and policymakers make well-informed policy decisions that support the well-being of all children and families in Rhode Island during this current public health crisis and every day. For more information, please see the media release and executive summary.

 

A Message to Our Partners

Communities, families, parents, and students -- We see you! We see the weight that #Covid19 has placed on your shoulders. We ourselves are parents, children of older adults, and neighbors -- as well as Rhode Islanders. We are with you in this. And while we can’t make it go away, we want you to know that you’re not alone.

 

In light of the pandemic, many priorities and tasks have been shifted -- and necessarily so. Social distancing requires a level of flexibility and patience that can feel downright uncomfortable.

 

But it’s in our name -- Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. Kids count. Families count. Their communities count. Please rest assured that we are committed to the work ahead. Public health and safety is our first priority right now, and advocating for Rhode Island children and families is a core piece of this priority. All staff are available via email and we are very active on social media.

 

Let's Get Social While Social Distancing

“We know how perceptive children are and how naturally curious they are. Kids really feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe...What we're trying to do is share either educational or fun activities for families and kids to do to keep them occupied - and also we care about parents and families, too. We know that everybody's routine is disrupted," -- this excerpt from our chat with Barbara Morse summarizes our efforts on Facebook and Twitter! Please join the conversation on these platforms while we navigate COVID-19.

In The News

It’s time to raise the RI Works benefit amount

R.I. Senate approves bill to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage

Payday loan reform bills return to General Assembly

Wide Range of Health and Children’s Advocates Rally for Sugary Drink Tax at State House

RI families getting subsidized child care dropped 34% during pandemic

‘Persistent, unacceptable disparities’ among RI kids detailed in new report

Report: Rhode Island's Kids Suffered Greatly During Pandemic

5 key facts and figures about children in Rhode Island

R.I. KIDS COUNT Factbook: Pandemic had ‘devastating’ impacts on children, families

How COVID-19 affected children in this year's Kids Count Factbook

A virtual rite of spring

Providence teacher raises money for student experiencing homelessness...NBC 10

Child abuse reports rise in Rhode Island following dramatic plunge

Pandemic takes toll on R.I. home-based child care providers

Students of color less likely to return to in-person learning than white peers

Reed: Pandemic relief law will raise more children out of poverty in Rhode Island

Women-led families in RI hard hit by COVID crisis, data shows

“A sharpening of the already present”

Outgoing Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Education Legacy

‘Yes On 5’ Campaign launches in support of $15 million child care facilities bond question

Raimondo’s education legacy: an ambitious agenda, but incomplete goals

RI to Expand Pre-K As Result of $4.5M in Federal Funding

RI Senate panel OKs 3-year moratorium on new charter schools

National report shines spotlight on how kids, families faring during pandemic

Food security, housing security and mental health for families: RI ranks near the bottom

R.I. KIDS COUNT: Pandemic worsens child food insecurity rate in R.I

R.I. Kids Count reports more families and children are struggling with hunger during COVID

E-cigarette use among teens on the rise in Rhode Island

R.I. KIDS COUNT: E-cigarette usage among youth higher than traditional cigarette use

RI education leaders alarmed by recent decline of child abuse reports

‘These kids depend on us’: Child abuse reports plummet during remote learning

Study: R.I. has 11th highest childhood obesity rate in U.S.

R.I. Kids Count forum highlights areas of concern in Newport

WUN-ON-ONE: A conversation with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Deputy Director Stephanie Geller

R.I. KIDS COUNT: 14% of R.I. children lived in poverty in 2019

Lagging Census; Treasurer Magaziner and R.I. Kids Count discuss what’s at risk

Take three

R.I. Kids Count: Pandemic likely to put more children in poverty

Ranking Rhode Island: Children’s health coverage

Mom struggling to find oral surgeon who will accept her insurance

HARI looks to improve maternal health for Black women across Rhode Island

Pandemic creating special challenges for many grandparents

‘There’s just so much work to do’ in Providence schools

Black moms matter

Seeing the whole kid through a lens of equity

Child abuse cases could be falling under the radar

What you should know about R.I.'s kids during the coronavirus crisis

Annual Factbook shows slight increase in child poverty, poverty gaps remain

Ideas to keep parents, children busy during coronavirus pandemic

More events canceled due to coronavirus

Education behind bars: How youth learn at the RI Training School

It’s time to rewrite R.I.’s parentage law, advocates say

Raimondo, early education advocates announce ‘RIght from the Start’ campaign

RIght from the Start campaign seeks to support families with young children

Early childhood advocates, elected leaders launch RIght from the Start campaign

R.I. Foundation committee says “stay the course” on education

Opportunity gap among children of different races in Providence among nation’s widest

Senate committee hears testimony on doula bill

House Labor bows to Senate, hears minimum wage bill with no path to $15

Elizabeth Burke Bryant talks state education funding on '10 News Conference'

Advocacy groups take the stage to promote 2020 priorities

The Factbook

The Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Factbook tracks the progress of 71 Indicators, across five areas of child well-being. View the 2021 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook.

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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401-351-9400
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