Children’s Friend is proud to be one of the providers of both Early Intervention and First Connections services for Rhode Island’s families. These services provide at-risk children with the educational, developmental, health, and social services they need to grow and develop in healthy and safe families and reach their full potential. The mission of each of these programs is at the core of our mission as an agency – to protect and to serve all of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children. It is what we owe every child.
These programs are funded through reimbursement rates set by the state. Reimbursement rates have not been increased in 20 years and have been reduced once. But now – amidst the pandemic, where we have been reminded how important all aspects of health, development, and wellbeing are – our provider system is on the verge of collapse.
In the last few years, staff turnover has been high, several providers have closed and ended services, and hundreds of young children sit on a state waitlist for services – sometimes for months – before receiving critical care.
Research tells us that intervening early in life, while the brain is first developing, is the best way to make a lasting positive impact on a child. Research also tells us that children who develop steady relationships with trusted adults have better outcomes than those that do not. We cannot allow the state to ignore what science has proven – a delay in accessing needed services, even for just a few months, has a lifetime of negative impacts on a young child.
Early Interventions and First Connections need help – your help. You are our best chance at creating positive returns for our state’s children.
House Bill 7628 – An act relating to health and safety – maternal and child health services for children with special health care needs has been drafted and introduced to Rhode Island’s House of Representatives. This bill would allow reimbursement rates to be raised by $4.5 million dollars. This investment is extremely small relative to the state’s budget, which will be finalized in the next month. This investment is worth it for the future of our state.
This bill may not pass if it does not have enough Representative support. We urge you to reach out to your Representative in the House and encourage them to support this crucial bill. Our babies, children, and families deserve to receive needed services and support without delay and with qualified and committed staff to provide these critical services.
How to Reach Out to Your Representative:
- Visit sos.ri.gov
- Click “Elections and Voting”
- Click “Find your Elected Officials”
- Enter your home address
- Scroll to “Your Elected Officials” and click on “Representative District __” to show their phone number and email address.
- Call them or email them using our fillable template (linked here) in support of H-7628!
Gabriella Florio Special Projects Coordinator