The State’s Child Advocate, Jennifer Griffith, has announced that she has appointed a panel of eight community professionals to conduct a multidisciplinary review of the death of a seven month old infant. This child was not in state custody at the time of the fatality, but was previously involved in a case that was open to the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).
The RI Senate Task Force charged with investigating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families and the two networks that provide services to DCYF families, has recommended that DCYF “monitor the networks more closely and be more involved with the families it serves” according to the Providence Journal. The task force offered 20 recommendations to improve DCYF.
At a Senate meeting to discuss Rhode Island’s budget deficits, DCYF Director Janice DeFrances proposed changes that would save nearly $1.6 million, against a projected deficit of $13.8 million for the Department. However, Ms. DeFrances stated to the Senate that costs for out-of-state placements, a delay in plans to establish an in-state group home for adolescent girls, and the loss of $3 million in federal dollars have all contributed to the current deficit.
The mission of the Office of the Child Advocate is to protect the legal rights of children in State care and to promote policies and practices which ensure that children are safe, that children have permanent and stable families, and that children in out of home placements have their physical, mental, medical, educational, emotional, and behavioral needs met.