Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
A Look Back at 2015
For more than 20 years, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has worked with organizational partners, elected officials, state agency leaders, and citizens to develop responsive policies and programs in early learning, the education system from pre-kindergarten through college, health coverage and primary health care, child welfare, juvenile justice, and economic well-being.

A core part of our work is producing high-quality publications with the best available data and research. As we move into a brand new year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight our 2015 publications.
Child Poverty in Rhode Island 
The negative effects of poverty are both immediate and long-lasting. Living in poverty affects children during their childhood, and well beyond into adolescence and adulthood.

Children in poverty, especially those who experience poverty in early childhood and for extended periods, are more likely to have physical and behavioral health problems, experience difficulty in school, become teen parents, earn less or be unemployed as an adult, and fall below the poverty line at least once later in their lives.

Child Poverty in Rhode Island describes the prevalence and impact of child poverty in Rhode Island communities, and includes recommendations for short-term assistance and long-term solutions to lift families out of poverty.
The 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count 
In April, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released its 21st annual report on the well-being of Rhode Island's children and families at a policy breakfast attended by over 500 people, including the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, the Governor, General Assembly leaders, community leaders, and policymakers.

The 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook charts improvements and declines in the well-being of children and youth across the state and in each of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns and provides the latest available data on 71 different indicators of children's lives, from birth through adolescence. The 2015 Factbook includes a new indicator on Paid Family Leave.
Infants, Toddlers, and their Families in Rhode Island 
The basic architecture of the human brain develops during the infant and toddler years. By age three, a child's brain has grown to 90% of its adult size and the foundation of many cognitive structures and systems are in place.

Infants, Toddlers, and their Families in Rhode Island includes information and data on issues affecting Rhode Island infants, toddlers, and their families, including: economic security, parental education, family home visiting programs, quality early childhood education, healthy births, developmental screenings and other health issues, and paid family leave.
Next Steps for Rhode Island's Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families
Next Steps is a set of recommended policy priorities for Rhode Island infants, toddlers, and their families. Developed under the leadership of a public-private steering committee using input from more than 200 early childhood experts from across the state and technical assistance from Zero to Three, Next Steps was endorsed by a variety of statewide planning groups, including the Rhode Island Early Learning Council and Successful Start. The four policy focus areas are: Economic Security, Mental Health & Well-Being, Parenting & Family Support, and High-Quality Early Learning & Development Programs.
Help for Working Families/Ayuda Para las Familias Con Empleo y Sin Empleo
Many working and unemployed families in Rhode Island are eligible for benefits to help support their families. Health insurance (RIte Care), child care subsidies, tax credits (EITC), nutrition assistance (SNAP and WIC) and cash assistance (RI Works) are available to families with low or moderate incomes. 

This resource is available in English and Spanish, to help working and unemployed Rhode Island families access these benefits.
2015 Legislative Wrap-Up
Our 2015 Legislative Wrap-Up reports on selected laws and budget appropriations affecting children in the areas of early learning, education, economic well-being, health, and safety considered in the Rhode Island General Assembly's 2015 Legislative Session.

To see the full publication, please click here
Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Summer Learning
More than 100 years of research shows that children lose skills in both math and reading over the summer when they are not regularly practicing these skills in school. High quality summer learning programs can prevent this summer slide, and help all children succeed in and beyond the classroom. 

Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Kindergarten
Kindergarten is an essential part of a child's education. High-quality early education from preschool through third grade helps children acquire critical cognitive, language, social, and emotional skills - establishing the foundation for all future learning. Legislation enacted in 2015 requires all Rhode Island school districts to implement universal full-day kindergarten by August 2016. 
Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting
Our Early Learning Fact Sheet: 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. 

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, through interventions such as family home visiting, improves child development outcomes.
Rhode Island Health Coverage Resources
Throughout the year, the Rhode Island Health Coverage Project has published resources about health care coverage. The Rhode Island Health Coverage Project is a joint initiative of the Economic Progress Institute and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT.

Please see:
Young Children in the Child Welfare System
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. Every child needs a family and a safe place to call home.

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.
Child Welfare Fact Sheet: Focus on Kinship Care 
Kinship care is the full-time care, nurturing, and protection provided to a child by a relative or family friend. Most children living with kin are in informal arrangements established within families. 

Children can also be placed with kin by state child welfare agencies when they cannot safely live with their parent(s). For children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, placement in kinship foster homes is often the best option for ensuring that they are able to maintain familial and community connections and minimize the trauma of being separated from parents.

To learn more about kinship care in Rhode Island, please see our Child Welfare Fact Sheet: Focus on Kinship Care
New Website!
Earlier this year, we released our newly redesigned website, at our same address: www.rikidscount.org.

We welcome you to visit the site, check it out, and let us know what you think! 

We've worked hard to make the site engaging and user-friendly and to provide you with easy access to all of our News & Events, latest Data & Publications, and Policy & Advocacy resources. 

And as always, you will find the best available information on the well-being of Rhode Island's children and families, across a wide range of Issue Areas: 

Please share our new website with colleagues and others in your community so they can use the data and resources to advocate for children and youth.

To order hard copies of these publications, please contact us at [email protected].
In This Issue
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.