RIght Start Agenda: 2022 Legislative & Budget Priorities

We’re excited to share our 2022 RIght Start Agenda (En Español) a package of legislation and budget priorities to advance state policies for babies, young children, and families in Rhode Island. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Rhode Island families with young children were struggling. State policy change is needed to make young children’s potential our priority and to lay the foundation needed for children’s success and a strong state economy.

Legislative & Budget Priorities:

  • State Budget Investments in Child Care, Early Education, Early Intervention, and Child & Maternal Health (Fact Sheet, H-7123)
  • RI Child Care is Essential Act (Fact Sheet, CCAP Rate Sheet – H-7177 / S-2681, H-7123 Article 13): Help more families access high-quality, reliable, affordable child care through the Child Care Assistance Program. Increase rates and expand eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program. Safe, healthy, and high-quality child care options are essential for parents to work and for children to thrive.
  • RI Early Educator Investment Act (Fact Sheet, H-7283 / S-2235, H-7123, Article 1): Develop goals and strategies to improve early educator compensation in child care, RI Pre-K, family home visiting, and Early Intervention programs. Stagnant and uncompetitive wages are causing staffing challenges and reducing access to high-quality child care, Early Intervention and family home visiting services.
  • RI Pre-K & Head Start: Prepare to expand high-quality preschool in diverse delivery settings (child care, Head Start, and public schools) so all 3- and 4-year-olds will be able to participate.
  • Early Intervention & First Connections (H-7628 / S-2546): Update Medicaid rates that have been frozen for 20 years so programs can retain and recruit skilled staff, eliminate waiting lists, and serve infants and toddlers with developmental challenges.
  • Paid Family Leave program (Temporary Caregivers Insurance, Fact Sheet, H-7444, H-7551/S-2245, H-7794, H-7717/S-2243): Add weeks and improve wage replacement  rates to help new parents. All new parents need adequate time and income to care for newborns, adoptive, and foster children at home for at least 12 weeks.
  • Cover All Kids (Fact Sheet, (H-7484 / S-2187, H-7123, Article 12): Ensure all children in Rhode Island have health insurance, regardless of immigration status.
  • Maternal Health Care (Fact Sheet, H-7290 / S-2202, H-7123, Article 12): Extend Medicaid through 12-months postpartum, regardless of immigration status, so new moms can have consistent health care.
  • Infant/Early Childhood Mental Wellness (Fact Sheet, H-7801 / S-2614): Develop Medicaid strategies to improve screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of infant/early childhood mental health challenges (birth through age 5).
  • Revenue for Rhode Island (H-7440 / S-2264): Increase state general revenue to fund programs that young families and children need.
  • Let RI Vote (H-7100 / S-2007 & H-7225 / S-2216): Let’s make it easier for Rhode Island’s busy parents to vote by mail or early in-person.

Campaign Steering Committee:

Beautiful Beginnings
Economic Progress Institute
Latino Policy Institute
Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE)
Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health
Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children
Rhode Island Head Start Association
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT