Fact Sheet: Saving First Connections & Family Home Visiting
H-5810 (Giraldo) & S-207 (Valverde)
First Connections is Rhode Island’s frontline home visiting service for families with newborns statewide. Currently delivered by four non-profit agencies, it is designed to identify babies’ and families’ needs as early as possible and connect them with services to address those needs, including mental health services, WIC, help with affordable housing, Early Intervention, and comprehensive evidence-based family home visiting programs.
Rhode Island’s Evidence-Based Family Home Visiting programs (Early Head Start, Healthy Families, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers) provide long-term, comprehensive services designed to help the whole family. These programs follow rigorous research models that produce lasting improved outcomes for children and families including: significant reductions in child maltreatment, language delays, and emergency room visits for accidents; and improvements in school readiness, maternal mental health, and parental education and employment.
Fewer Rhode Island Babies and Families Are Getting the Help They Need
Since 2015, the number of families served by First Connections has dropped by 18%. Just since 2021, the number of families served by the comprehensive, evidence-based program has dropped by 21%.
The First Connections & Family Home Visiting 2023 bill will:
- Make the long-needed (22 years!) rate increase permanent for the Rhode Island First Connections newborn home visiting program. Prior to the temporary rate increase, First Connections programs had an average operating loss of $136.70 per visit, causing a significant financial and staffing crisis that limits services for children and families.
- Require the development of a plan to sustain and expand voluntary family home visiting services, including meeting the new state funding match requirements for the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting funds ($800K in 2024, $1.1 million in 2025, $1.6 million in 2026, $2.4 million in 2027), so that high-quality programs are offered to all families who could benefit.
|City/Town||# Received First Connections Visit in 2022||# Enrolled in Evidence-Based Home Visiting on October 1, 2022|