KIDS COUNT: Children Continue to Witness and Experience Domestic Violence in RI

Monday, April 13, 2015


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Rhode Island Kids Count officially released its twenty-first annual report on the well-being of Rhode Island’s children on Monday morning. 

The 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook charts improvements and declines in the well-being of children and youth across the state and in each of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns, and provides the latest available data on 71 different aspects of children’s lives, from birth through adolescence. The Factbook indicators are grouped into five interrelated categories: family and community, economic well-being, health, safety, and education.

Some of the main findings in this years Fact Book include:

• Children continue to witness and experience domestic violence. In Rhode Island in 2013, there were 5,028 total domestic violence incidents that resulted in arrests, an improvement from 5,533 in 2012. While there was a decline in the incidents of domestic violence without children present, the number of incidents with children present increased (2,018 in 2013, up from 1,717 in 2012). In 2013, 40% of all domestic violence incidents had a child present, up from 31% in 2012. New federal reporting requirements also provided new data showing that 25% of indicated allegations of child neglect by DCYF in 2014 involved children being exposed to domestic violence.

• Child population continues to decline – Between 2000 and 2013, Rhode Island’s child population decreased by 14% (from 247,822 to 212,827). Rhode Island has the sixth lowest birth rate in the U.S.

• Changes in the enrollment and demographics of Rhode Island public schools. On October 1, 2014, there were 141,959 students enrolled in Rhode Island public schools in preschool through grade 12, a decrease of 9% from 156,498 on October 1, 2004. In October 2014, 61% of Rhode Island public school students were non-Hispanic White, 24% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, 3% were Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% were Multi-Racial, and 1% were Native American. There are racial differences among communities - 20% of students enrolled in the four core cities were White, compared with 81% in the remainder of the state. In October 2014, 47% of students in Rhode Island were low-income (students who were eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program). Again, there are differences - 77% of students enrolled in the four core cities were low-income compared with 31% in the remainder of the state.

• Parental employment. Rhode Island has the highest rate of children with at least one unemployed parent (12%), compared to the U.S. average of 8%. Between 2011 and 2013, there were 17,579 Rhode Island children living in families with no employed parents (9% of all families). In December 2014, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 6.8%, the fourth highest in the nation, and higher than the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.6%.

• More children were identified as homeless by school personnel. During the 2013- 2014 school year, Rhode Island public school personnel identified 1,023 children as homeless (up from 923 in the 2012-2013 school year). Of the 1,023 children, 59% lived with other families (“doubled up”), 33% lived in shelters, 8% lived in hotels or motels, and 1% were unsheltered.

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• Wide disparities exist in poverty and median family income among racial and ethnic groups. Between 2011 and 2013 in Rhode Island, 21% of all children, 45% of Hispanic children (who can be of any race), 44% of Native American children, 38% of Black children, 20% of Asian children, and 15% of White children in Rhode Island lived in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. In 2013, 50% of Rhode Island’s Hispanic children were living in poverty, compared to the national rate of 33%. The median family income for Hispanics in Rhode Island was $30,611, compared to $72,152 overall for all races.

• Continued high rates of health insurance coverage. In 2013, 5.4% of Rhode Island’s children under age 18 were uninsured, compared with 7.1% of children in the U.S.
Rhode Island ranks 16th best in the nation, with 94.6% of children with health insurance. Approximately 74% of the uninsured children in Rhode Island between 2011 and 2013 were eligible for RIte Care coverage based on their family incomes, but were not enrolled.

• Rhode Island ranks best in U.S. for fully immunized children: In 2013, Rhode Island’s rate (82%) of children ages 19 months to 35 months that were fully immunized was above the national average of 70% and the best in U.S. This is an increase from 73% fully immunized in 2012.

• Continued progress on reductions in childhood lead poisoning. The number of children with elevated blood lead levels have been steadily declining in all areas of Rhode Island for more than a decade and a half. The number of children in Rhode Island under age six who were significantly lead poisoned has from 212 in 2005 to 32 in 2014 (an 85% decline). However, children living in the four core cities (7.5%) were more than twice as likely as children in the remainder of the state (3.3%) to have confirmed EBLLs ≥5 μg/dL in 2014.

• Continued declines in the teen birth rate. In 2013, the birth rate for U.S. teens (26.5 births per 1,000 teen girls) and Rhode Island teens (17.7 births per 1,000 teen girls) were the lowest ever recorded. The five-year average teen birth rate in Rhode Island declined 30% between 2005 and 2013, from 30.1 to 21.0 births per 1,000 teen girls. The teen birth rate in the four core cities (Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket) also declined by 30% during that time period.
Challenges in Health Outcomes

• RI ranks best in the nation for child death rate (lowest rate): In 2013, Rhode Island’s child death rate for children ages one to 14 was 9 per 100,000 children. This was a decrease from 14 deaths per 100,000 children in 2012. Rhode Island also ranked sixth best in the nation for the teen death rate, with a rate of a rate of 34 deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013.

• Continued low rates of children and youth at Rhode Island Training School. After several years of steep declines, the number of youth at the Rhode Island Training School leveled off, with 500 youth in custody during 2014. During 2014, 60% of youth at the Training School were discharged after less than two weeks in custody. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of youth from the core cities at the Training School declined (from 281 to 268); while the number from the remainder of the state increased (from 201 to 214).

• Increases in child abuse and neglect, with continued concentration among young children:  In 2014, Rhode Island experienced more child maltreatment reports, completed
investigations, and indicated investigations than any year since 2006.


More information can be found at the RI KIDSCOUNT website.


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