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.
OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED
An advisory committee will be established, which shall be comprised of 9 members including: one attorney appointed by the Rhode Island Bar Association; one judge or magistrate of the family court appointed by the chief judge of the family court; one pediatrician with expertise in child and adolescent treatment or child abuse and neglect appointed by the Rhode Island Medical Society; one psychologist with expertise in child and adolescent treatment appointed by the Rhode Island Psychological Association; one Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker appointed by the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; one psychiatrist with expertise in child and adolescent treatment appointed by the Rhode Island Medical Society; and three (3) members, one of whom is a youth or parent (foster or birth) formerly involved in the state child welfare system, familiar with duties established under § 42-73-7.
Appointments of committee members will last for a term of 5 years and members will advise the Child Advocate on all aspects of child welfare with specific attention to the legal and civil rights of children in state care.
AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION -- RESIDENCE OF CHILDREN FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES
Senate Bill No. 2136
By: SenatorS Cool Rumsey, Goldin, Satchell, Crowley, Nesselbush
This bill would provide that Rhode Island licensed child placing agencies and Rhode Island governmental agencies promote the educational stability of children in foster care by considering the child's school attendance area when making placement decisions.
01/29/2014 Introduced, referred to Senate Education
04/02/2014 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/09/2014)
04/09/2014 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES—ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN
RI H 5749
Status: Enacted - Act No. 2013-286
Sponsors: Representatives Naughton, Ackerman, Silva, Bennett, and Hull
This Act repeals the provisions of the Rhode Island General Laws, which required the Department of Children, Youth and Families to establish an informational database containing the number of suspected child abuse and neglect cases reported by hospitals, health care centers, emergency rooms and other appropriate health care facilities. This information would have been provided by hospitals and other health care facilities in quarterly report.
ESTABLISHMENT OF CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH
RI H 5989
Status: Adopted - Act No. 2013-213
Sponsors: Representatives Cimini, Diaz, Slater, Serpa, and Newberry
Summary: Proclaims the Month of April, 2013, to be "Child Abuse Prevention Month" in the State of Rhode Island.
RI DEPARTMENT OF CHIDLREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES (DCYF) BUDGET
DCYF was given an additional $2.4 million in a supplemental FY 2013 budget and
$3 million in the FY 2014 budget to support the ongoing System of Care transformation.
LEGISLATIVE CHANGES MADE TO JUVENILE PROBATION
Legislation passed that will make it mandatory for a juvenile probation counselor to file a violation of probation in Family Court when a youth on probation is charged with a subsequent delinquent offense. The original version of this legislation would have made it mandatory for probation violations to be filed for any new offense, including wayward offenses.
CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING
For the first time, a general revenue appropriation for the Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program was included in the FY 2014 budget. This and other one-time contributions will allow the program to maintain level funding.