PROVIDENCE, RI – July 8,2022, Governor Dan McKee, members of the General Assembly, and the Children’s Cabinet celebrated historic investments in children and youth at a meeting of the Children’s Cabinet hosted by the Genesis Center. The FY23 Budget recently signed by Governor McKee includes important policies and programs for children and families that will increase access and equity in education, child care, healthcare, and mental health.
“The FY23 budget represents a historic investment for children and families,” said Governor McKee. “With this budget, we are increasing income eligibility for child care for the first time in decades and covering all income-eligible kids in Medicaid, regardless of immigration status. This budget speaks to our values of equity, inclusion, access, and ensuring every Rhode Islander has a strong start in life.”
“This budget is a commitment to protecting the health and safety of every child in Rhode Island in every year of their life,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “We are meeting the most essential needs of our children and families by investing in affordable housing, empowering healthy choices though SNAP, and increasing health and human services rates for the professionals whose hard work allows our kids to thrive. I look forward to working with our colleagues in and out of government to ensure these programs are accessible to every Rhode Islander who needs them.”
“I believe we’ve made great strides in improving the quality of child care and early learning in this state,” said Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), Co-Chair, Legislative Commission on Child Care. “More and more stakeholders are putting a greater focus on our youngest Rhode Islanders. These actions show a commitment to early childhood from the whole General Assembly and the Governor. We are taking another step closer to the future when we can guarantee early learning to all Rhode Island children, so we can give them the best foundation for all future learning and development.”
“This budget was a true and significant investment in Rhode Island’s children and hard working families. We as a state can now say that all kids are covered by medical insurance, that we pay our vital child care providers a livable wage that reflects the important work they do in our society, and that our children and families will have access to the necessary medical care and educational services that they deserve. Low income families, families of color and hard working families in Rhode Island have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and for years have been left behind and this budget is a good start to close the gap on these inequities by providing more opportunities for our children and families. I thank all who had a hand in this year’s budget and I look forward to keep working to ensure that Rhode Island continues to invest in its children and families,” said Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Education.
The Children’s Cabinet, which is charged with developing an annual comprehensive children’s budget, discussed the importance of the FY23 budget in advancing key priorities for children and families.
“With the FY23 budget, Rhode Island families will feel the impacts immediately. People giving birth who are on Medicaid will have 12 months of postpartum care, rather than 60 days. Families up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level will now be able to access the Child Care Assistance Program. And families across the state will have increased access to mental health services and housing supports,” said Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Ana Novais.
“Our students have faced unprecedented challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, but this budget puts our young people on track to have not only the academic supports but also the wraparound supports they need,” said Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “This budget puts us on track to develop a plan for universal Pre-K and ensures essential funding for K-12 through continuing to fully invest in the funding formula.”
“Here at Genesis Center, we know how important it is to invest in families as a whole,” said Genesis Center President and CEO Shannon Carroll. “This budget does exactly that by investing in high quality early learning and K-12 education, extending postpartum coverage for new parents on Medicaid, and increasing access to key healthcare and mental health services. Especially in the wake of the pandemic which further exposed the deep-rooted inequities in our state, this budget helps make progress in closing opportunity gaps through increased eligibility for key programs like Medicaid and childcare as well as improvements to the RI Works program.”
The FY23 budget includes the following key investments for children, youth, maternal health, and families:
- Increased eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), including for families between 180 percent to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and for full-time college students at Rhode Island public institutions of higher education.
- Increased rates for CCAP providers to increase equitable access to high quality early education for families utilizing the CCAP vouchers.
- Investments in child care capacity and quality, including in the TEACH scholarship program, a workforce registry and a second-year of the RI Rebounds pandemic educator retention bonus program and the family child care start-up grants.
- Expanded postpartum care on Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months regardless of immigration status.
- Expanded Medicaid coverage to all income-eligible children, regardless of immigration status.
- Increased Medicaid rates for Medicaid pediatric primary care, Early Intervention, and labor and delivery.
- Stimulus investments in Early Intervention, pediatric primary care, First Connections, and Certified Community Mental Health Clinics.
- Increased rates for DCYF providers.