About Us

Who We Are

As an agency committed to access and achievement, the vision for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) is that all Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to thrive at home, work and in the community. 

A close up photo of a mother holding hands with her sleeping baby.

DHS works hand-in-hand with community partners and resources throughout our great State to deliver critical benefits, supports and services to more than 300,000 families, adults, children, older adults, individuals with disabilities and veterans every year. We are part of the solution to end poverty and food insecurity and we make a lasting, positive impact on the State’s health and future.

More specifically, DHS strives to guarantee:

  • Families are strong, productive, healthy, and independent.
  • Adults are healthy and reach their maximum potential.
  • Children are safe, healthy, ready to learn and reach their full potential.
  • Child Care providers deliver high quality education services.
  • Older Adults and Seniors and individuals with disabilities receive all necessary services to enhance their quality of life.
  • Veterans are cared for and honored.

DHS believes in continuous improvement. We have guiding principles and a strategic plan with strategies to help us operate as efficiently as possible and always support the whole family.  

Learn more about the Department’s progress with our year end reflections. We also have our 2021 Legislative Priorities that you can find below.  

Leadership

Kimberly Merolla-Brito has more than 23 years of state service. She currently serves as acting director of the RI Department of Human Services. Prior to her appointment as acting director in August 2022, Brito served as the deputy director for policy and operations since 2017.

In her previous role, Kim was responsible for assisting the director in ensuring effective operations and service delivery to more than 300,000 people. In addition, she maintained agency policy and oversight, process improvement efforts, staff training and development, and other leadership duties.

From 2015 to 2017, Kim served as associate director, policy and operations, at RI DHS, providing oversight and strategic management of policy/planning activities, quality control improvement, and overall operations coordination.

From 2009 to 2015, she served as administrator, policy and research, also at DHS. Kim first joined state service in 1998 as a social caseworker at the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF). Kim is also a licensed independent clinical social worker.

She received both her Master of Social Work and her Bachelor of Social Work from Rhode Island College. Kim is extremely active in various community service efforts including membership on the LaSalle Academy Executive Board, RI Commission on Women and Girls, and previously serving on the National Child Welfare Leadership Institute.