Research, Reports, Surveys & News

With its significance to the economy, education and future of Rhode Island, the child care industry, early learning and workforce is often studied. The following research, reports, surveys and data highlight the latest developments around child care. Read about the Market Rate Survey here

Office of Child Care Data Dashboard

Family Child Care Start-Up Grants 

The Family Child Care Start-Up Grant program was created to help increase the number of newly licensed family child care (FCC) providers in the state. Designed to help stabilize the child care sector, the start-up grants assisted providers in opening 130 new FCC homes through grants of up to $2,000. Recipients were also provided technical assistance to support a successful opening. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF) — as appropriated by Governor Dan McKee and the General Assembly — the grant program supported the need to increase capacity in a mixed-delivery system. The program began on June 30, 2022, and ended on March 30, 2024, with over 70 new, licensed providers, and many others in the process of completing licensing requirements of their program. Additional program data is available in the report below:

Early Childhood Compensation Study 2023-24

This study was funded by ACF’s Preschool Development Birth through Five Planning Grant (PDG) and is one of several activities Rhode Island is pursuing with the grant funds that DHS lead with the funds. Public Consulting Group (PCG) was used to conduct a mixed-methods Early Childhood Educator Compensation Study to gather comprehensive data pertaining to the compensation of educators teaching in DHS-licensed child care facilities in Rhode Island. Key questions driving the study included:

  • What is the current state of compensation and benefits for early educators?
  • What compensation level is needed to sustainably attract and retain early educators in the field? 
  • What are the potential strategies and costs for achieving that compensation?

PCG conducted the study between October and November 2023. The report, available for download below, documents the methodology, findings, analysis, and recommendations. An advisory group composed of state employees, providers, and stakeholders provided input to ensure questions and information from the field were obtained. 

This study provides vital data to support Rhode Island’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan priority of ensuring early educators are fairly compensated. The 2019 Early Educator Workforce Survey demonstrated RI early educators – similar to their colleagues nationally – faced persistent low wages. The pandemic exacerbated an already under-compensated and understaffed field. DHS engaged in multiple initiatives to support early educators’ compensation, reduce staff turnover, and increase retention, including but not limited to the Pandemic Retention Bonus Program, Step Up to WAGE$ pilot, CCAP for Child Care Educators, and the Family Child Care Start-Up Grants.  With this context, DHS sought to understand the current state of compensation to establish a new baseline of information following the pandemic and to understand what is needed to support and strengthen the early educator field, retain existing educators, and attract new educators to the workforce.

RI Early Childhood Governance Systems Analysis Final Report

As part of the Governor’s Enacted FY 2023 Budget, a Working Group on Early Childhood Governance was charged with examining systems, structures, and authorities that govern and administer early childhood programs in Rhode Island. The final report, available for download below, is a culmination of that analysis by the team at Foresight Law + Policy and Watershed Advisors, which were commissioned by the state to make recommendations on the governance and administration of early childhood programs. 

Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund

In the March 2021 special election, Rhode Island residents overwhelmingly voted in support of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Capital Fund. The approved funding provides over $13 million in grant funding for physical improvements to existing child care spaces and for the development of new licensed early childhood care and education facilities. The following status report provides an update on the administration of the program, specifically relating to the distribution and impact of capital funds. 

A child speaking to a teacher

For more information on the fund, as well as detailed information about the wave 1 grantees, please click here: Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund – RICCELFF

COVID-19 Impact Survey

DHS deployed a series of three surveys in October, November, and December 2020 to collect information on the programmatic and financial impact that COVID-19 had on licensed child care programs and the families they serve. 

Each month, an average of 339 licensed, reopened child care providers responded to the survey (October: 347, November: 324, December: 346).

Hearing directly from providers was crucial to providing DHS with real-time information to inform our decisions and best provide additional support. Specifically, the information gathered through this survey series provided DHS the data to:

  • Advocate for the $5 million COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will be used to support licensed child care providers to maintain their businesses
  • Continue the enhanced Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) rate to better support child care providers serving children enrolled in CCAP
  • Continue the CCAP payment practice to pay providers based on enrollment rather than attendance
  • Plan and advocate for future funding

The COVID-19 Impact Survey series summary report is below. 

PDG Reports

In January 2019, the State was awarded a one-year, $4.19 million federal Preschool Development Grant (PDG) that was targeted at youth from birth through age 5. While the PDG funds cannot be used to pay for additional pre-K seats, the grant led to the redesigned RI Children's Cabinet website and critical reports that helped pave the way for the Child Care Facilities Fund detailed on our Quality Initiatives page.  

BrightStars Think Tank Recommendations Report

The 2018 BrightStars Think Tank was convened in order to develop recommendations to the Department of Human Services (DHS) on ways to strengthen Rhode Island’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) so that it is more effective in supporting the continuous quality improvement of child care programs. Read the recommendations report and the DHS implementation response below.