December 28, 2017
A Look Back at 2017
For more than 20 years, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has worked with organizational partners, elected officials, state agency leaders, and community members 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 2017 publications:
Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheet: Students Take Ownership Over Their Own Learning
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has released a series of Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheets. Each Fact Sheet highlights state policies that support student-centered learning practices, highlights best practices in Rhode Island and across the nation, and provides recommendations for expanding and strengthening student-centered learning in Rhode Island.

Student-Centered Learning recognizes that students take ownership over their own learning by becoming actively engaged in their own success, incorporating their interests and skills into the learning process, and having a voice in decision-making about issues that affect their learning at the classroom, school, district, and state levels. 

To learn more about this principle - and how students take ownership over their own learning in Rhode Island - please click here

Please also see our other Student-Centered Learning Fact Sheets: Personalized Learning; Learning Anytime, Anywhere; and Learning is Competency-Based.
Issue Brief: Improving High School Graduation Rates in Rhode Island

Improving High School Graduation Rates in Rhode Island presents detailed graduation and dropout rates for every school and district in Rhode Island, research on early warning signs and risk factors of dropping out, as well as key strategies for increasing student engagement, graduation rates, and college and career readiness. The Issue Brief includes a specific focus on student-centered learning as a key strategy for increasing high school graduation rates and college and career readiness.

Policy Brief: Physical Activity in Schools
Regular physical activity has been shown to have numerous physical benefits and positive effects on the brain, including improved attention, memory, and concentration and reducing depression and anxiety. Physical activity also can help improve academic achievement, as well as academic behavior. However, too few children and youth are physically active for the recommended 60 minutes per day. 

A Snapshot of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs in Rhode Island reports on Rhode Island school personnel experience with comprehensive school physical activity programs, and provides recommendations for increasing physical activity in Rhode Island schools.
The 2017 Factbook
In April, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released its twenty-third annual report on the well-being of Rhode Island's children at a policy breakfast attended by over 500 people, including the Governor, Congressional Delegation, and statewide and community leaders. 

The 2017 Rhode Island Kids Count 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 in which more than 25% of the children live in poverty).

This year, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT added a new indicator on College Enrollment and Completion to the 2017 Factbook, bringing the total number of indicators to 72. 
Updated Child Welfare Fact Sheet: Focus on Restoring Foster Care to Age 21

Rhode Island provided foster care services for youth in the care of DCYF until age 21 until July 1, 2007 when the age limit was lowered to age 18. Youth with serious emotional disturbances, autism, or functional developmental disabilities remain legally entitled to services until age 21. A growing number of states have extended foster care services beyond age 18, a policy that can have substantial individual, societal, and economic benefits. It is more cost effective to invest in successful transitions to adulthood than to pay for the cost of failure. To date, 25 states and DC provide foster care services to youth until age 21. 

To learn more about extending foster care to age 21 in Rhode Island, please click here.
Issue Brief: Children of Incarcerated Parents in Rhode Island

Strong, positive relationships with parents and other caregivers are the building blocks for healthy development - and incarceration threatens that critical foundation. Parental incarceration can contribute to children's insecure attachment to their parents, which can lead to poor developmental outcomes. Parental incarceration increases children's risk for learning disabilities, ADHD, conduct problems, developmental delays, mental health issues, and speech problems.

presents information on parental incarceration in Rhode Island, racial and ethnic disparities, and key strategies for meeting the unique needs of children with incarcerated parents and their families while a parent is incarcerated and after a parent is released from prison.
Early Learning Fact Sheets

Each 2-page Early Learning Fact Sheet focuses on a specific area within the early learning continuum, and provides the latest available data, key facts, and recommendations for each topic. 

Please click below to learn more about: 
Spotlights on Student-Centered Learning

Each week in September, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released a new Spotlight highlighting how student-centered learning is being implemented across Rhode Island.  These Spotlights included principal, teacher, non-profit, and student perspectives.

Spotlights included:  
Issue Brief: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use in Rhode Island

While Rhode Island has made dramatic progress in reducing cigarette use among youth, continued tobacco control efforts are needed due to new products.

Preventing Youth Tobacco Use in Rhode Island  presents detailed rates of youth cigarette, tobacco product, and e-cigarette use in Rhode Island, risk factors for youth tobacco and e-cigarette use, an overview of tobacco control programs and policies, as well as recommendations for eliminating youth tobacco use and use of new products such as e-cigarettes.
Engaging Students in Their Own Learning: Rhode Island Youth Perspectives
In October, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, in partnership with Young Voices, released Engaging Students in Their Own Learning: Rhode Island Youth Perspectives.

All information provided in the report is based on the results of six focus groups and represents the views of 56 students at seven public high schools in Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence, Rhode Island. The report provides youth perspectives on what teaching and learning looks like in schools currently, what experiences students have had with more student-centered approaches to learning, and how schools could better engage students in their own learning and prepare them for success in college and careers.
Issue Brief: Adolescents in the Child Welfare System in Rhode Island

Adolescents in the Child Welfare System in Rhode Island presents data and analysis on adolescents in the child welfare system, including information on maltreatment and trauma, supports specifically for teens, and issues related to youth exiting the child welfare system through aging out or achieving permanency. The report also includes recommendations on how to best support adolescents in the child welfare system to ensure healthy development and a healthy transition to adulthood.
2017 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up highlights legislative victories for children and summarizes selected laws and budget appropriations in the areas of economic well-being, child care and early childhood education, K-12 education, college access, health, and safety that were considered during the 2017 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly, including those items handled during the special September session. 

We hope this is a helpful resource as you gear up for the next Legislative Session.