The science is clear: Our brains grow faster between the ages of 0 and 3 than at any later point in our lives. Every second, more than one million new neural connections form. These connections have a lifelong impact on how babies learn and grow, and are stimulated and strengthened by nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition. 

Our future begins with babies. We can help make sure all families have the resources and support they need to give their babies a strong start in life.

ZERO TO THREE created Think Babies™ to make the potential of every baby our national priority. Early experiences shape how a baby’s brain develops, laying the foundation for future learning, behavior and health. Think Babies™ brings nationwide attention to what babies and families need to thrive.

ZERO TO THREE is partnering with leading children’s advocacy organizations in six states to bring Think Babies closer to home. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is proud to be a part of this work!

Please see this new Fact Sheet from Think Babies and the National Partnership for Women and Families — Strengthening Paid Family Leave Will Help Rhode Island Families



First smile. First laugh. First hug. 

These are the moments of human connection that we cherish from the moment we're born. 

Think Babies Rhode Island 

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is leading a state campaign to develop and advance policies benefiting infants and toddlers with support from Zero to Three. Please see the Rhode Island Infant/Toddler Policy Landscape Analysis.

The leadership team for Think Babies Rhode Island includes:

  • Leanne Barrett, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT 
  • Kristine Campagna, RI Department of Health
  • Susan Dickstein, RI Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Rachel Flum, Economic Progress Institute
  • Lisa Hildebrand, RI Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Jennifer Kaufman, RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Khadija Lewis Khan, Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center
  • Zoe McGrath, RI Department of Education
  • Caitlin Molina, RI Department of Human Services

Think Babies Policy Priorities for 2019:

Increasing access to affordable, quality child care for infants and toddlers

  • Increase and expand tiered quality rates for the Child Care Assistance Program
  • Strengthen the state’s child care licensing system
  • Develop and implement a wage supplement strategy to improve recruitment, development, and retention of qualified and effective infant/toddler educators

Ensure access to paid family leave

  • Improve the Temporary Caregiver Insurance program’s wage replacement rates for low-wage workers so they can afford to take paid family leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted or foster child, or a seriously ill child
  • Extend the number of weeks available through the Temporary Caregiver’s Insurance program so all newborns and newly adopted or foster children can stay home with their parents and caregivers for at least 12 weeks

Ensure access to voluntary, evidence-based home visiting for families with infants and toddlers

  • Increase state funding to sustain and expand programs known to improve child and family success, including Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families America, Parents as Teachers, and Early Head Start.

First 1,000 Days of RIte Care: Improve Connections to High-Quality Infant and Toddler Programs and Services through the 13 well-child visits scheduled in the first 3 years of life and high-quality prenatal care

  • Sustain strong health insurance coverage rates
  • Improve developmental screening and referral rates to Early Intervention
  • Strengthen maternal depression and infant mental health screenings, services, and supports
  • Coordinate pediatric care with family home visiting and Early Intervention

Celebrating Young Children Luncheon

At our Celebrating Young Children Luncheon on January 28, 2019, we celebrated progress, discussed goals for the future, and recognized the commitment of leaders to providing a strong start for young children birth through age 8 and their families. Please see the media advisoryProgress & Potential for Rhode Island Children Birth Through Age 8 presentation,  event pictures, and Providence Journal coverage.

Strolling Thunder Rhode Island - 2019

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, in partnership with ZERO TO THREE, organized a major advocacy event to bring approximately 40 Rhode Island families with babies and toddlers to the State House. Strolling Thunder Rhode Island took place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Strolling Thunder™ is the flagship advocacy event of the Think Babies™ campaign, part of a national campaign designed to bring attention to the many issues that affect what babies and families need to thrive. Please see the media advisory, event pictures, Capitol TV segment, and Twitter activity for more information!

Strolling Thunder Rhode Island - 2018

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, in partnership with ZERO TO THREE, organized a major advocacy event to bring approximately 40 Rhode Island families with babies and toddlers to the State House. Strolling Thunder Rhode Island took place on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Please see the fantastic event pictures, Twitter activity, Capitol TV clipmedia release, and Kidoinfo coverage!

If you are interested in joining this year's Strolling Thunder Rhode Island, please email Communications Manager Katherine Chu!


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, safety, education, economic security, and development of Rhode Island’s children.


Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


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