PROVIDENCE, R.I. (September 20, 2017) – The Rhode Island
Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) announced today it has been
awarded a $415,000 grant from the W.K Kellogg Foundation to continue
improvements in delivery of services and supports to young children in Rhode
Island’s child welfare system.
This three-year project, titled “Rhode Island Getting to
Kindergarten Initiative,” was proposed to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation over the
past six months as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to improve outcomes
for children from birth to five-years-old who are involved in the child welfare
system. Each year, approximately 1,300 children under the age of six
become involved with DCYF and they face a variety of challenges that can have
lifelong effects on their well-being and future educational success.
Rhode Island’s Getting to Kindergarten Initiative will focus
on ensuring that all young children in DCYF care have access to diligent
developmental screening and services that will help support both children who
face adversity in their early years and their families. Other goals of the
project include supporting access to high quality child care resources for
children in DCYF care and training to support all early childhood service
providers and DCYF case workers who work with this population.
DCYF plans to utilize the grant resources to engage supports
from all child-serving sectors including Early Intervention, Family Visiting
Programs funded by the Department of Health, Child Outreach Screening funded by
the Rhode Island Department of Education, Early Care and Education Programs,
Head Start, the state’s Pre-K services, and DCYF contracted programs.
DCYF will be able to leverage the grant resources provided
by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to build a sustainable system of service
delivery and access to supports that will positively affect the lives of young
children in the child welfare system.
“Working within the Children’s
Cabinet, we are dedicated to cross-agency efforts that support our
youngest learners,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Eric J. Beane. “A
year ago, Governor Raimondo set a goal to ensure that 75 percent of third
graders are reading on grade level by 2025. It is through partnerships with the
W.K. Kellogg Foundation and others that we will make headway towards this goal,
and help children in Rhode Island reach their full potential.”
“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with the
W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” said DCYF Director Dr. Trista Piccola. “The goals of
this project align directly with the goals of Governor Raimondo’s Third Grade
Reading Plan and we know this project will have a significant positive impact
on the children and families we serve. This project will ensure that all
available resources are used to help our youngest children have the best chance
at future educational success as they and their families seek to overcome some
of the challenges they face.”
Here in Rhode Island and nationally, data suggests that
young children who are exposed to abuse and neglect are six times more likely
to experience some form of developmental delay. Sustaining an intentional focus
on the well-being of children across all child-serving state and community
agencies will ensure that they will have a strong foundation and set the stage
for future success.