One highlight was the addition of reimbursement of doula services for mothers using Medicaid or private insurance. This will allow all Rhode Island moms, regardless of income, to access critical support throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the early weeks following birth.
Advocates also secured additional Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) time for families in the state. Eligible families will be able to take 5 weeks next year and 6 weeks in 2023. While an important improvement, advocates will continue fighting to extend coverage to at least 12 weeks and to increase the state’s wage replacement rates for PFML (the lowest in the nation) so that workers making lower wages, many of whom are people of color, can afford to take the paid leave they need. Learn more about the child development case for PFML here. To see how Rhode Island’s policy compares to other states, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures Family Medical Leave webpage.
These policies have been a key focus for advocates with Think Babies Rhode Island in recent years and ZERO TO THREE commends the coalition for these wins for babies. To learn more about 2021 wins for young children in Rhode Island, download the Rhode Island Kids Count 2021 Legislative Wrap Up and see the RIght from the Start Campaign 2021 Summary here.