Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
November 5, 2015
New Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting
Focus on Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting 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. 

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.

To see additional publications in the Early Learning Fact Sheet Series, please click here.
Access to Publicly Funded Preschool in Rhode Island is Below National Average
Participating in high-quality preschool and early learning programs boosts children's chances for success in school and life. Yet, experts estimate that 6 out of 10 four-year-old children in the U.S. do not have access to publicly funded preschool programs. 

Similar estimates for Rhode Island indicate that 81% of four-year-olds are not enrolled in public preschool programs (State Pre-K, Head Start, or Preschool Special Education). Increased federal and state funding has expanded Rhode Island's small but high-quality State Pre-K program  which now serves 594 children in nine communities. Rhode Island Head Start programs educate almost 2,300 preschoolers per year (only 34% of eligible three-and four-year-olds). An additional 2,786 children ages three and four are receiving preschool special education services. High-quality preschool isn't affordable for many families, so states across the U.S. are working to expand access to publicly funded preschool programs. Another key part of the early learning system is the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps thousands of low-income, working families access high-quality early learning programs. Rhode Island's investments in early care and learning need to grow so more families can be sure their kids have the strong early childhood foundation they need to succeed in school and life. 
New Bipartisan Poll Finds Investing in Early Childhood Education is Top National Priority

Results from a new bipartisan poll recently released by the First Five Years Fund find that the majority of voters (Republicans, Independents, and Democrats) share a top national priority: investing in early childhood education. 

Among the findings, the poll shows that: 
  • Voters believe that learning in the early years is critical for future success. 
  • Voters see access to quality early childhood education as a necessity for today's families. 
  • Giving children a strong start in life is a top priority.
View the full poll results and fact sheet online by clicking here.
Rhode Island Receives Federal Grant for Paid Family Leave
Great news for Rhode Island families! The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training was recently awarded a federal U.S. Department of Labor grant, to help implement Temporary Caregiver's Insurance/paid family leave

Rhode Island's TCI/paid family leave program, launched in 2014, provides up to four weeks of wage replacement benefits to eligible workers who need to take time off from work to bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child or to care for a seriously ill family member. Of the 2,847 approved claims to bond with a new child in 2014, 98% were for a newborn child, 1% were for a newly adopted child, and 1% were for a new foster child. Thirty-two percent of claims to bond with a new child were filed by men and 68% were filed by women. 

To learn more about paid family leave in RI, please see our indicator from the 2015 Factbook.
Collaborative Strategy To Reduce Toxic Stress in Rhode Island
ConvergenceRI recently hosted a conference at Rhode Island College on reducing toxic stress in Rhode Island, with leaders in neuroscience research, early childhood, pediatrics, policy, and students. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant was a featured panelist at the event. 

To learn more about toxic stress and Rhode Island children - including our indicators and publications related to toxic stress - please click here.
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.