Press Release July 25, 2019
Governor Raimondo’s Health Cabinet Announces New Partnerships to Support Young Children and Families
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) today announced new partnerships to support local families to raise healthy children who are ready and able to succeed in school.
“Family members are the first – and often most important – educators in a child’s early life. Yet vulnerable families face significant economic, socioemotional, and other barriers to fulfilling that role,” said new Health and Human Services Secretary and Children’s Cabinet Co-Chair Womazetta Jones. “The Preschool Development Grants will increase the accessibility, choice, affordability, and intensity of programs that are available in these communities.”
ONE Neighborhood Builders is the backbone organization for the Central Providence Health Equity Zone (HEZ) and will be supporting two of its members with Preschool Development Grants.
“Research shows that factors outside the doctor’s office drive up to 80 percent of our health outcomes,” said RIDOH Deputy Director Ana Novais. “Health Equity Zones are about bringing the right partners to the table to support communities to define and achieve their goals. We’re thrilled to work with our sister state agencies to expand this important work.”
“I am once again impressed by the results of collaboration across the state of Rhode Island, especially when it comes to supporting our families,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “The funding distributed through the preschool development grant will make a valuable and lasting difference in preparing children for success throughout their time in school and beyond — nothing could be more important.”
“As we build our birth-to-5 system, it is critical to have parents as our partners in this work, both for their input and because they are their child’s first teacher,” said Courtney E. Hawkins, director of the state Department of Human Services. “These HEZ programs will help us achieve this valuable partnership.”
Through these Preschool Development Grants, ONE Neighborhood Builders is partnering with The Autism Project to implement the trauma-informed, evidence-based Conscious Discipline© program to help families understand and support children’s social-emotional growth and development, and with Federal Hill House to expand the successful Providence Talks Playgroup Model that strives to increase parent talk, reading, playing, and teaching through modeling and coaching delivered to caregivers during playgroups.
“What distinguishes the HEZ model is the unprecedented coordination and shared vision of all the departments within the Governor’s cabinet, said Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders. “We are pulling in the same direction in order to ameliorate the social conditions that lead to unacceptable health inequities based solely on where you live.”
ONE Neighborhood Builders is a community development organization with a mission to promote equity, public health and community safety in Providence neighborhoods. It accomplishes its mission through strategic real estate development to increase the availability of affordable homes; engaging residents and community-based organizations to build trust and collective problem-solving; and helping to develop individuals’ financial capabilities so that they may realize their personal asset-building goals. To support young children and families we operate the 21st Century Community Learning School at William D’Abate Elementary in Providence.