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Rhode Island Passes Home Visiting Act
With unanimous support from both legislative bodies, Rhode Island passed the Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act codifying key parts of the state’s home visiting system into law in 2016.
The Act calls for the Department of Health (DOH) to operate a statewide home visiting system that employs evidence-based models proven to improve child and family outcomes. Although DOH administers the system, the department is required to work with other state agencies to identify evidence-based models and coordinate services. The Act also calls on DOH to implement a system to identify and refer families to home visiting programs. Families with specific risk factors, such as history of prenatal drug or alcohol abuse, insufficient financial resources to meet family needs, and adolescent parents, are identified in the Act to be prioritized for services.
In October 2016, DOH issued an annual report on the status of the home visiting system. Each annual report will be used for continuous quality improvement. According to the 2016 annual report, there were 1,645 adult clients served in family home visiting programs statewide in FY2016. Of the 1,645 served, 16% were pregnant women, 17% were pregnant women who delivered during the reporting period, and 67% were parents and caregivers of young children. Additionally, it was also recorded that 1,415 infants and children were served in FY2016.
According to the 2016 annual report, the family home visiting programs in Rhode Island strengthen early childhood systems of care by collaborating with community service providers to coordinate services and integrate service delivery; building and coordinating data systems; developing centralized intake systems; and providing professional development and training to family home visiting staff and the broader early childhood field.
Updated June 2018.