Five key facts to know about R.I. kids. How teachers would fix Providence schools.
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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I just want to point out that the Red Sox haven’t won a game since the trade deadline. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
If you want to understand how children in Rhode Island are doing, there is no better resource than the Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook.
Published annually by the state’s leading child advocacy organization, the report breaks down important statistics on the education, health, safety, and economic well-being of kids and their families in the state.
So what are the key facts you should know about children this year? Here’s an overview.
• Child poverty is falling, but it’s still the highest in New England.
The percentage of Rhode Island children under the age of 18 who are living below the poverty line dropped from 19.8 percent in 2014 to 16.6 percent in 2017, which is below the national average. The state ranks in the middle of the pack nationally, but is sixth in New England. In Providence, Woonsocket, and Central Falls, at least 36 percent of kids live in poverty.
• Nearly one in three kids are overweight or obese.
Rhode Island children mirror the national average of 31 percent when it comes to being overweight. The report calls childhood obesity “a result of complex interactions among many factors, including excess calorie consumption, genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, and culture.”
• A lot of children have parents with no full-time job.
Even in a strong economy, 31 percent of Rhode Island children did not have a parent with full-time, year-round employment in 2016. That’s a slight improvement from 2010, but still the worst in New England.
• Child abuse cases are on the rise.
The number of child maltreatment calls to the Department of Children, Youth and Families jumped from 16,000 in 2017 to 22,000 in 2018, in part because of a spike in early warnings for families. Of the 8,300 investigations that were completed by DCYF last year, 29 percent led to a finding that abuse or maltreatment had occurred.
• Nearly all Rhode Island kids have insurance.
Let’s end with some good news. Rhode Island ranks third nationally when it comes to children with health insurance, as only 2.1 percent of kids under the age of 18 don’t currently have insurance. The national average is around 5 percent.
NEED TO KNOW
Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• We’ve heard a lot about Providence schools from policymakers and elected officials, but I wanted to know how the city’s best teachers would improve the district. So I asked five educators who have been recognized as Providence’s Teacher of the Year what they think.
• Amanda Milkovits reports another person has come forward with abuse allegations against a prominent Bristol man who has been accused of sexually abusing two boys and soliciting a third decades ago.
• After a weekend of two deadly mass shootings, the Globe’s Nestor Ramos argues, “this is exactly who we are.”
• The Providence Journal’s parent company could soon be merging with Gannett to form the largest newspaper chain in the country. Media analyst Ken Doctor offers some thoughts on what it could mean for local news.
• Winner: I received dozens of responses to my question about the best concert ever held in Rhode Island, but I think my favorite answer came from reader Howard Sherman, who reports that he saw James Brown in Providence in 1963. Mr. Sherman tells me Brown was “in his prime, and no one could dance like him!”
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• At the State House today, Governor Gina Raimondo will hold a ceremonial signing of a bill that extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to seek recourse in civil lawsuits.
• The Globe’s Rhode Island reporters are opening our office on the third floor of the new Wexford building downtown this morning. Our doors are always open, so come say hello.
• This sounds fun: Rhode Island Fast Ferry is unveiling its new Block Island fast ferry, which will provide trips between Quonset Point and Block Island.
• Good luck to the Barrington Little League All-Stars, who start the New England regional tournament tonight against a team from Vermont.
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