Right now there are 600 at-risk children under the age of 3 waiting for critical development services that Family Service of Rhode Island provides. Passing H-7628 will help.
Early Intervention and First Connections programs are a core component of the state’s commitment to ensuring that families with infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities receive high-quality services as early as possible, so children can develop to their fullest potential.
But nonprofits that provide these mandated maternal and infant services face high staff turnover rates due to low wages– caused by a stagnant, 22-year-old state reimbursement rate— which is putting our most vulnerable children at risk of losing these services completely.
That’s why FSRI’s early childhood staff, including our CEO Margaret Holland McDuff, recently gave testimony in support of H-7628 to fund a stable system of care for Rhode Island children and families at the RI Statehouse.
Right now, there are only nine remaining EI service-providing agencies in Rhode Island, including FSRI. All have dealt with a workforce and financial crisis in recent years, which have now created a perfect storm of circumstances that is ultimately hurting at-risk children and families that need services most.
As a state, we have three choices:
- Force nonprofits to operate in the red to continue offering these critical, life-saving services, which at some point will cause a total system collapse.
- Close the early childhood programs altogether and be in violation of federal law.
- Have legislators increase their reimbursement rates now and into the future through H-7628.
Please call or email your legislator TODAY and make sure they know you support H-7628. You can find out who your representative is here.
Let’s put people first– because the future of young Rhode Islanders hangs in the balance.