Two New Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Child Welfare Fact Sheets
Rhode Island’s Voluntary Extension of Care Program: Updateprovides updated data on the Voluntary Extension of Care (VEC) program that was established to allow youth previously in the care of the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) to voluntarily participate in extended services until age 21. The report provides data on education, employment, and housing outcomes, information on recent Executive Orders allowing youth eligible for extended foster care to continue receiving services during the COVID-19 public health crisis, and recommendations for providing the tailored supports and services that youth need through DCYF’s VEC and Foster Forward’s YESS Aftercare programs.
Achieving Race Equity in the Child Welfare System provides data on racial and ethnic disparities in child welfare in Rhode Island (including data on indicated investigations, likelihood of out-of-home placement, type of out-of-home placement, and children reaching permanency), information on the potential causes of these disparities, and recommendations for achieving race equity in the child welfare system.
Reductions in Youth at the Rhode Island Training School
Since the beginning of 2020 and throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the number of youth at the Rhode Island Training School has continued to decline from 41 youth (37 boys and 4 girls) on January 1, 2020 down to 27 youth (25 boys and 2 girls) on June 17, 2020. This 34% reduction in the daily count of youth at the Training School has resulted from decreasing arrests and from diverting and releasing youth whenever safely possible. Despite this overall reduction, racial and ethnic disparities persist. The overall reduction in the Training School population as well as the persistent racial and ethnic disparities are part of a national trend that is being documented by The Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).
Supporting Kinship Foster Families
During the COVID-19 crisis, DCYF has continued to prioritize placing children and youth who require out-of-home placement in foster families, especially kinship foster families, rather than congregate care settings. Because of this focus, as of late June, approximately 83% of children and youth in out-of-home placement are currently living with foster families, including kinship foster families. This article in the Providence Journal features Rhode Island KIDS COUNT data and highlights some of the challenges that grandparent kinship foster families are facing during the current health crisis.
2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook
The 2020 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook charts improvements and declines in the well-being of Rhode Island’s 203,908 children with a core focus on equity. The Factbook allows us to take stock of where Rhode Island effectively supports children’s development and where we need to focus increased attention and efforts.
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having and will have on Rhode Islanders, particularly our most vulnerable children and families. Exacerbating racial and ethnic and economic disparities as a result of this crisis is a serious concern.
This information can help our state and local leaders and policymakers make well-informed policy decisions that support the well-being of all children and families in Rhode Island during this current public health crisis and every day.