RI Kids Count

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Rhode Island Department of Education released a report that puts high school graduation rates among students at the national average.

Kate Brewster, executive director and co-founder of the Economic Progress Institute, is leaving the low-income advocacy and research group after 11 years to become executive director of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, which provides food and clothing to needy local residents in South County while also engaging in policy initiatives and advocacy.

``It is with tremendous mixed emotions that I leave the institute, an organization that has had a lasting and profound impact on the ability of Rhode Islanders to make ends meet,’’ said Brewster in a statement.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island has long been engaged in a debate about government benefits for the poor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our state isn’t as generous as most other New England states on helping those with less.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston has heard the complaints for years from conservatives and some elements of the business community:  That Rhode Island’s overly generous social welfare programs handcuff taxpayers and harm the state’s business climate.

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.

The latest Kids Count Fact Book comes out Monday. That’s an annual report about the health and well-being of children in Rhode Island. Researchers find many of the state’s minority children are still disproportionately at risk.