Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-13.7
The Rhode Island Family Home-Visiting Act

SECTION 23-13.7-2

§ 23-13.7-2. Home-visiting system components.

(a) The Rhode Island department of health shall coordinate the system of early childhood home-visiting services in Rhode Island and shall work with the department of human services and department of children, youth and families to identify effective, evidence-based, home-visiting models that meet the needs of vulnerable families with young children.

(b) The Rhode Island department of health shall implement a statewide home-visiting system that uses evidence-based models proven to improve child and family outcomes. Evidence-based, home-visiting programs must follow with fidelity a program model with comprehensive standards that ensure high-quality service delivery, use research-based curricula, and have demonstrated significant positive outcomes in at least two (2) of the following areas:

(1) Improved prenatal, maternal, infant, or child health outcomes;

(2) Improved safety and reduced child maltreatment and injury;

(3) Improved family economic security and self-sufficiency;

(4) Enhanced early childhood development (social-emotional, language, cognitive, physical) to improve children's readiness to succeed in school.

(c) The Rhode Island department of health shall implement a system to identify and refer families prenatally, or as early after the birth of a child as possible, to voluntary, evidence-based, home-visiting programs. The referral system shall prioritize families for services based on risk factors known to impair child development, including:

(1) Adolescent parent(s);

(2) History of prenatal drug or alcohol abuse;

(3) History of child maltreatment, domestic abuse, or other types of violence;

(4) Incarcerated parent(s);

(5) Reduced parental cognitive functioning or significant disability;

(6) Insufficient financial resources to meet family needs;

(7) History of homelessness; or

(8) Other risk factors as determined by the department.

(d) Beginning on or before October 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, the Rhode Island department of health shall issue a state home-visiting report that outlines the components of the state's family home-visiting system that shall be made publicly available on the department's website. The report shall include:

(1) The number of families served by each evidence-based model; and

(2) Demographic data on families served; and

(3) Duration of participation of families; and

(4) Cross-departmental coordination; and

(5) Outcomes related to prenatal, maternal, infant and child health, child maltreatment, family economic security, and child development and school readiness; and

(6) An annual estimate of the number of children born to Rhode Island families who face significant risk factors known to impair child development, and a plan including the fiscal costs and benefits to gradually expand access to the existing evidence-based, family home-visiting programs in Rhode Island to all vulnerable families.

(e) State appropriations for this purpose shall be combined with federal dollars to fund the expansion of evidence-based, home-visiting programs, with the goal of offering the program to all the state's pregnant and parenting teens; families with a history of involvement with the child welfare system; and other vulnerable families.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 23, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 28, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 208, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 252, § 1.)