About Raising RI

The Raising RI Coalition wants families to be able to meet their basic needs and provide families receiving RI Works with opportunities for economic security. This year we seek to address deep poverty by increasing the RI Works benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level, provide a one-time clothing allowance for children, allow parents to attend community college for 2 years and ease the transition to work.

Support Economic Security for Families Receiving RI Works Benefits

RI Works is the state’s cash assistance program for children and their parents or caregivers and a work preparation program for the adults.  It is time to make changes to the program to support both the short-term economic security of families receiving benefits and to break the cycle of poverty by providing parents with opportunities for well-paying, secure jobs.

In 2021, there are 2,500 families receiving benefits including 6,000 people.  Just over ¾ of RI Works recipients are children and 43% are under the age of 6. Families receiving RI Works live in every city and town in RI except on Block Island.

Join as an individual and/or an organization to join in the effort to support our neediest children.

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Send an Email to Your State Lawmaker

Kick-off Event for Raising RI

The Raising RI Coalition hosted a kickoff event on Zoom to educate others about S-226 (Murray) and H-5683 (Handy) and why these bills are critical to children’s well-being. The Coalition is supporting bills that will improve the lives of families receiving RI Works benefits.

The bills propose:

  • raising the RI Works benefit from 30% FPL to 50% FPL (from $554 to $915 for a family of 3) to lift children out of deep poverty;
  • provide the $100 yearly clothing allowance to children under age 4;
  • allowing a parent to attend CCRI for 2 years as her employment plan activity; and
  • allowing parents to retain RI Works benefits for 6 months after they start a job.

Linda Katz, Policy Director, The Economic Progress Institute.
Dr. Patricia Flanagan, American Academy of Pediatrics
Tonya Harris, Executive Director, Coalition Against Domestic Violence
David Veliz, Director and Organizer, Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
Senator Melissa Murray
Representative Art Handy
Jillian Kane (RI Works Parent)
Desire Barrett (RI Works Parent)


The Rhode Island Works benefit has not been increased in 30 years, while all other New England states have adjusted their benefit to help families’ purchasing power keep up with inflation. Massachusetts increased the benefit last year. New Hampshire and Maine adjust the benefit annually. The 2,500 families currently enrolled in the program receive an average of $6/person/day. The benefit is 30% of the federal poverty level, meaning that children and their parents are living in deep poverty. 

The Campaign

The Coalition seeks to raise the RI Works benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level to lift families out of deep poverty. The benefit for a family of 3 would rise from $554/month to $915/month, giving families more resource for toiletries, housing, transportation, clothing, food and other basic needs.

The Campaign also is advocating to provide the yearly $100 clothing allowance to all children – not just to school-aged children. We also seek to allow parents to attend CCRI for two years and to exclude earnings for 6 months when a parent starts a job.

Raising RI Legislation

House Bill 5683 (Representative Handy)

Senate Bill 226 (Senator Murray) 

Testimony From:
Senator Melissa Murray - (0:13); RI DHS Director Courtney Hawkins - (3:32); Linda Katz (EPI) - (8:46); Paige Clausius-Park (RI Kids Count) - (19:37); Savanna N. (A Parent) - (23:37); Kimberly Rauch (DHS) - (26:23); Hilary Levey Friedman (RI NOW) - (30:24); Michelle (CCA) - (32:24); David Veliz (Interfaith Coalition of RI) - (36:44); Dr. Pat Flanagan (AAP - RI Chapter) - (39:55)

Get Involved

The Coalition is a group of community, healthcare, social service and advocacy organizations that serve low-income families and families who are receiving or have received RI Works benefits.

If you or your organization would like to join our coalition of passionate anti-poverty advocates, please sign up online in the corresponding button.

Share Your Rhode Island Works Story (Confidentially)!

Coalition Members

  • Center for Southeast Asians
  • Community Action Partnership of Providence
  • Community Care Alliance
  • Comprehensive Community Action Program
  • Cranston Clergy Association
  • Direct Action for Rights and Equality
  • Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County
  • Facilitate Change
  • Formerly Incarcerated Union of RI
  • Foster Forward
  • Genesis Center
  • Goodwill of Southern New England
  • Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale
  • National Association of Social Workers Rhode Island Chapter
  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
  • Newport Partnership for Families
  • ResCare Workforce Services
  • Rhode Island AFL-CIO
  • Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families
  • Rhode Island Community Action Association
  • Rhode Island Health Center Association
  • Rhode Island Kids Count
  • Rhode Island National Organization for Women
  • Rhode Island Parent Information Center
  • Scandinavian Church
  • Sojourner House
  • Paul Catholic Church
  • Temple Sinai Social Action Committee
  • The Economic Progress Institute
  • The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island
  • The Latino Policy Institute
  • The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • The Rhode Island Community Food Bank
  • The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty
  • The Womxn Project
  • Tomaquag Museum
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency
  • United Way of Rhode Island
  • Washington County Coalition for Children
  • Westbay Community Action
  • Women’s Resource Center of South County
  • Woodridge Congregational Church
  • Working Cities Newport

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