In Rhode Island, KIDS COUNT
In late 1993, with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation launched a special initiative designed to research and profile the health and economic, educational, and social well being of children in Rhode Island. The project was called Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. The mission was twofold: to provide independent, credible, comprehensive information on the state of Rhode Island’s children, and to use that information to motivate policymakers to enact public policies and programs that held real promise to improve children’s lives.
With help from the A. Alfred Taubman Center at Brown University, and the Rhode Island College School of Social Work, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released its first-ever “Factbook” in 1995. Presented to Governor Lincoln Almond and a host of other dignitaries, the Factbook painted a vivid picture of “two Rhode Islands.” It was Rhode Island KIDS COUNT’s first – but not last – call to action on behalf of the challenges facing children in Rhode Island’s core cities. At the launch of the initiative, then Rhode Island Foundation President Ronald V. Gallo proudly declared that “The KIDS COUNT project may well be the most important initiative in which we are involved.”
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT became an independent organization in 1997. Since that time, the annual Factbook has grown from tracking fewer than two dozen indicators of child wellbeing to close to 75 today. And that’s not all. Through a series of regular publications, frequent convenings of key influencers, and a commitment to consistent public leadership on state policy issues, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT has earned the undisputed distinction of serving as Rhode Island’s public conscience on issues affecting children in our state.
The Rhode Island Foundation is proud of our nearly 25-year partnership with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, and we celebrate the organization’s continued commitment to the wellbeing of our state’s youngest citizens.