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Building a brighter future for Rhode Island children

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Thursday, June 20, 2024   

Rhode Island has ranked 12th in the nation for child well-being according to the 2024 Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The state has made significant strides in various areas, especially in children's health insurance coverage, employment rates and a reduction in child poverty. However, there are still challenges in academic outcomes, with Rhode Island ranking low in high school graduation rates and math proficiency.

Paige Clausius-Parks, executive director of Rhode Island Kids Count, highlighted the achievements and areas for improvement.

"Compared to our partners in other states, we should be really proud that Rhode Island is one of the top-ranking states for children's well-being in some really important areas, including our children's health insurance coverage," Clausius-Parks noted.

The Kids Count Data Book, now in its 35th year, examines data in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community factors. Despite the successes, the state faces challenges in academic outcomes, particularly in high school graduation rates and math proficiency scores. The pandemic made the issues worse, causing significant learning loss.

The report said ensuring children have access to essential resources, like nutritious meals and mental health support, is crucial for their academic success and overall well-being.

Clausius-Parks stressed the need for comprehensive policies supporting children and their families and emphasized the connection between parents' well-being and children's success.

"If parents are doing well, If parents are able to find secure employment, able to find high quality affordable child care, then our kids are going to be in families that are earning income, where kids are not in poverty," Clausius-Parks pointed out.

The Kids Count Data Book urged ongoing efforts to improve education and address essential needs like housing, nutrition, and mental health care, which are critical for reducing chronic absenteeism and enhancing educational outcomes. Clausius-Parks added investments in education, especially in reading and math, are essential to help Rhode Island continue to advance, and to ensure all children can thrive.

Disclosure: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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