Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has released their 2017 Budget and Legislative Highlights on issues affecting children in the areas of early learning, education, economic well-being, health, and safety considered in the RI General Assembly’s 2017 Legislative Session.

Highlights include:

Early Learning & Development

  • The Child Care Transition Program (cliff effect policy) was made permanent.
  • $1.1 million was added to expand the State Pre-K program through the education funding formula.
  • The state Head Start supplement was increased by $390,000.
  • Tiered Child Care Quality Rates were not established.


  • Education funding through the funding formula (including Pre-K) was increased.
  • The pilot categorical fund in the education funding formula to support the education of students who are English language learners was made permanent.
  • The RI Promise Scholarship program was created, which covers the cost of two years of tuition and mandatory fees at the Community College of Rhode Island for qualifying Rhode Island students, after federal and other financial aid funds available are used.

Economic Well-Being 

  • The General Assembly approved an incremental increase in the minimum wage over two years from $9.60 per hour to $10.10 per hour, effective January 1, 2018 and to $10.50 per hour, effective January 1, 2019.


  • The FY 2018 budget added a Case Management Coordinator position to the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA).
  • Legislation passed that provides that the Crime Victim Compensation Program shall allow compensation for a minor who witnesses a homicide or domestic violence incident.


  • The FY 2018 budget preserves current RIte Care eligibility and benefits.
  • Legislation passed that prohibits licensed health care providers from practicing conversion therapy relating to sexual orientation and/or gender identity for children and youth under age eighteen.