Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
February 15, 2013

Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy Update


President Obama Announces New Early Childhood Initiatives

On February 12, 2013, in his State of the Union address, President Obama called for expanding access to high-quality Pre-K by partnering with states to reach all low- and moderate-income 4-year-old children.  Rhode Island's Pre-K program has been recognized as one of only five in the country to meet research-based quality benchmarks.  The program has also been shown to reduce the achievement gap between low-income children and their higher-income peers by 75% at kindergarten entry.       


President Obama also announced a plan to expand access to child care subsidies and Early Head Start with a focus on ensuring that high-quality programs are available for more infants and toddlers.  In addition, the President wants to expand access to full-day kindergarten across the country and increase investments in evidence-based home visiting programs to serve the most vulnerable young children and their families.  Rhode Island's evidence-based home visiting programs include Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families, and Parents as Teachers.     


More details about the President's early childhood initiatives can be found in a recent White House press release.


Governor Chafee's Fiscal Year 2014 Proposed Budget
RI State House
Governor Li
ncoln Chafee released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal during the annual State of the State address.  Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has prepared an FY 2014 Budget Analysis.  The Governor's proposed budget includes the following early learning items:

  • Pre-K: Fully funds the early learning categorical program that was adopted as part of the education funding formula. Based on the expansion plan for Pre-K adopted as part of the funding formula, the budget includes $2.5 million to support 14 State Pre-K classrooms in the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Child Care Assistance Program: Maintains current eligibility, family copayments, and reimbursement rates for the Child Care Assistance Program serving over 7,000 children.
  • Enhanced Child Care Assistance: Uses $1.5 million in federal TANF funds to support "enhanced child care" for 400 families in the Rhode Island Works Program who participate in a new pilot work support program.
  • Head Start: Maintains the current $1 million in state-directed funding for Head Start to help reduce waiting lists for children who are eligible for Head Start but not enrolled. 
Legislative Tracking
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is tracking bills and budget items relating to children and youth during the 2013 Legislative session.  Check out our Legislative Info Page for the latest on legislation and upcoming hearings, and to read our public testimony
Visit us at www.rikidscount.org
In This Issue
starPresident Obama Announces New Early Childhood Initiatives
starGovernor Chafee's Fiscal Year 2014 Proposed Budget
starLegislative Tracking
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.