rhode island kids count

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Here's what's happening in health care in Rhode Island:

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RIPR FILE

Just two decades ago, the vast majority of Rhode Island children had elevated levels of lead in their blood when they were tested at the start of Kindergarten. Today, the percentage has dropped into the single digits, according to Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, whose organization started tracking blood lead statistics in the mid-1990s.

RIPR FILE

Children are becoming more diverse in Rhode Island, but the number of babies born in withdrawal from opioids continues to grow. Those are just some of the statistics in this year’s Kids Count fact book, which comes out Monday. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant about several of the highlights in the report.  

Rhode Island is 7th in the nation for children’s healthcare coverage. That’s according to 2014 numbers from the U.S. Census.  It’s a big jump from last year, when Rhode Island was 16th.

Today, nearly 97 percent of Rhode Island children have health insurance, up from about 94 percent in 2013. Elizabeth Burke-Bryant of the advocacy non-profit Rhode Island Kid’s Count said the leap can be partly attributed to a major PR push to get people insured, under Obamacare.

Aaron Read / RIPR

A coalition of researchers from Rhode Island’s colleges and universities have released another round of reports on the state’s economy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what will happen to the latest round of research.

If Rhode Island were a bench, it would splinter under the weight of all the blue-ribbon commissions and consultant-generated reports that have for decades weighed in on what ails our state’s economy.

Young children in Rhode Island are more ethnically diverse than ever before. That according to new data from Rhode Island Kids Count.

Fewer than three out of every five Rhode Island kids under age five now identify as white. That’s a huge drop from their grandparents’ generation. 91 percent of state residents who are 65 and older identify as white. Kids Count released the numbers as part of a new report on infants, toddlers and their families.

The number of babies born with exposure to opioid drugs and alcohol nearly doubled in Rhode Island between 2006 and 2013. 

That’s one of the more startling facts in the new Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook. Executive Director Elizabeth Burke-Bryant said unlike earlier drug problems, this one is not concentrated in urban areas.

“90 percent of babies born with drugs in their system, were born to white mothers and 32 percent lived in the four core cities, which means the majority of these cases are spread to the rest of Rhode Island,” said Bryant.

Rhode Island Kids Count found kids enrolled in the health insurance program for low-income children and families have better access to preventative health care. The new study on RIte Care comes on the program’s 20th anniversary.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Fewer elementary and middle school students in Rhode Island are obese. That’s according to a new analysis from Rhode Island Kids Count. But the needle isn’t budging on obesity in high schoolers.

Rhode Island Kids Count releases new numbers on Monday that show 12 percent of young school children in Rhode Island were chronically absent during the last school year, meaning they missed 18 days or more of school.

The study finds that for Kindergarten students who are chronically absent, there is an increased risk of low achievement that persists at least into middle school. The students are also more likely to be held back a grade.

Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant says a number of factors can contribute to chronic absenteeism.

National Institute of Mental Health

Stress can affect developing brains, including the kind of stress that poverty can create. But a strong caregiver can mediate those effects. Those are the findings of a new study in the Journal JAMA Pediatrics. It's not news that stress and poverty can have negative effects.

Rhode Island Kids Count

Kids Count is out with its annual report on the health, education and safety of children in Rhode Island.

The report shows there are close to a quarter million children in the state. Nineteen percent live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The good news, says Kids Count director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, is that they’re healthier than they once were.

Kids Count is out with its annual report on the health, education and safety of children in Rhode Island.

The report shows there are close to a quarter million children in the state. Nineteen percent live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The good news, says Kids Count director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, is that they’re healthier than they once were.