Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Budget Priorities for FY 2022
Contact Your Legislators Today!
The mission of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is to improve the health, safety, education, economic well-being, and development of Rhode Island's children with a commitment to equity and the elimination of unacceptable disparities by race, ethnicity, disability, zip code, immigration status, neighborhood, and income. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT engages in information-based advocacy to achieve equitable public policies and programs for the improvement of children’s lives. 

Throughout this session, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has been advocating for budget priorities for FY 2022 that advance this mission. As the session winds down, we ask you to contact your legislators and House and Senate leadership to ensure that these important items are included in the budget.

Visit vote.ri.gov to find your State Senator/Representative. You can also make a call or send an e-mail to Speaker Shekarchi’s office Rep-Shekarchi@rilegislature.gov (401-222-2447) and President Ruggerio’s office Sen-Ruggerio@rilegislature.gov (401-222-6655) to tell them you support these priorities.
Economic Well-Being:
  • RI Works Benefit Increase: Increase the RI Works benefit, which has not been increased in 30 years, to 50% of the federal poverty level ($915 per month). H-5683/S-226
  • RI Works Program Improvements: Support the provisions in Article 13, Section 5 of the Governor’s proposed budget, including providing the yearly $100 clothing allowance to children under age 4.
  • Affordable Housing: Create a dedicated source of funding for affordable housing. H-5687/S-365/Article 16

  • Multilingual Learners (MLLs): Provide at least $5 million in additional funding to support MLLs.
  • Out-of-School Time: Provide $2 million to support high-quality afterschool, summer learning, and workforce development programs. H-5211/S-577
  • School-Based Mental Health Support: Provide $2 million to support the hiring of new school social workers and $590,000, that is in the Governor’s proposed budget, for teacher training, curricula, and resources to teach mental and behavioral skills. H-6029
  • College Access: We are excited that just last week Governor McKee signed the bill making the RI Promise Scholarship permanent. We need $7.7 million from general revenues (as included in Article 1 of the budget) to support the RI Promise Scholarship program in FY 2022. We also support the proposed Hope Scholarship that would provide 2 years of tuition at RIC, which would help make 4-year college more accessible to low-income students. H-6217/S-636
  • Increase Percentage of Teachers of Color: Provide $2 million for a scholarship fund to prepare students of color to enter the field of education. H-5699
  • Support for Low-Performing Schools: Support the Governor’s proposal to create a new position at RIDE to support persistently low-performing schools.

Early Childhood 
  • Child Care: Support the Child Care is Essential Act H-5672/S-378 by including at least $91 million in the budget for the Child Care Assistance Program, including 50% of the supplemental child care funding from the American Rescue Plan to 1) provide sustainable rates to child care providers so they can stay open and grow to serve more Rhode Island children and families; 2) reduce family co-pays to make child care more affordable; and 3) expand eligibility so more working families can access quality, affordable child care.
  • RI Pre-K: As proposed in the Governor’s budget, fund RI Pre-K with $14.9 million in state general revenue and $5.5 million from federal PDG Birth to 5 funds and Governor’s Emergency Education Stabilization funding for a total of $20.4 million which will be used to add 300 new RI Pre-K seats for the 2021-2022 school year. 
  • Head Start: Maintain $1.2 million in state funding for Head Start, included in Governor’s proposed budget to maintain 130 Head Start seats for three- and four-year-olds from very low-income families.  
  • Early Intervention and Family Home Visiting: Address the staffing crisis for the RI Early Intervention Program and our network of voluntary Family Home Visiting programs by increasing Medicaid rates and allocating adequate state funds as a Medicaid match to reach more families.

  • Cover All Kids: Provide RIte Care health insurance coverage to all eligible children who are residents of Rhode Island, regardless of immigration status. H-5714/S-576
  • Postpartum RIte Care Coverage: Provide 12 months of continuous postpartum RIte Care coverage to new mothers, instead of the current 60-day postpartum coverage, as a key strategy to address maternal mortality/morbidity. H-6075/S-430
  • Doulas: Support the Doula Reimbursement Act including $112,252 from general revenues to provide Medicaid coverage for perinatal doula services and require that commercial insurance plans provide doula coverage. H-5929/S-484

  • Older Youth in Foster Care: Support the $500,000 in general revenue funds in Governor’s proposed budget to provide continued supports and services to older youth in foster care who would have aged out during the pandemic.
  • Female Youth Project: Support the Female Youth Project, proposed in the Governor’s budget ($1 million in general revenue and $2.5 in federal funds), to develop psychiatric residential treatment facilities for female youth with complex mental and behavioral health needs.
  • Family First Prevention Services Act: Support the $400,000 in general revenue funds in the Governor’s proposed budget to ensure compliance with new federal requirements in the Family First Prevention Services Act. 

New Revenue: Raise $128 million in new tax revenue by adding one new tax bracket on income above $475,000. H-5227/S-326
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT | www.rikidscount.org