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DCYF Finds Safety Violations at John Hope Settlement House

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The interior of a John Hope van.

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families has found that the John Hope Settlement House has vans that were not inspected -- and not registered -- following complaints made by the Concerned Citizens for John Hope Settlement House.  

The group, who early in September called for Board President Representative Anastasia Williams' resignation amidst allegations of financial and political misconduct, had recently broached safety issues at the house with DCYF, who visited the house last Friday to inspect the conditions.  

Last week, the group had brought concerns with van safety to the attention of DCYF.            

"It has come to our attention that the vans that JHSH utilizes to transport children in are not only in poor condition (bald tires, missing cushions) they both have expired inspection stickers," said the group.  

The group sent pictures of the vans to DCYF to document their condition.  Williams did not respond to request for comment on Tuesday. 

SLIDES: See Photos Below

On Tuesday, DCYF responded to the group.  

"Thank you for bringing your concerns to the attention of DCYF.  DCYF responds to all child care concerns brought to our attention and these concerns are no exception," wrote DCYF Administrator Kevin Savage to the group in an email.

"On Friday, 9/12/14, DCYF Licensing Regulators went out to the John Hope Child Center and confirmed that 2 vehicles used to transport children were not inspected in accordance with DMV requirements. One vehicle was not registered.  DCYF Child Care Program Regulations for Licensure require centers that transport children to comply with DMV vehicle requirements.  DCYF informed John Hope that the vehicles were to be removed from operation until DMV requirements were met.  John Hope agreed to comply.  A follow up visit to the site will  occur on 9/16/14 to assess progress toward compliance," continued Savage.

Savage spoke to previous issues addressed by DCYF.

"During the summer of 2013, DCYF responded to all 3 phone calls regarding the matter of air conditioning.  While air conditioning is not required by the child care regulations, rooms must be maintained at a temperatures between 65 and 74 degrees.  DCYF worked with John Hope, during the time that the air conditioning system was being fixed, to ensure the appropriate and safe care of children. During the 9/12/14 site visit, DCYF regulators reviewed staff files and addressed irregularities in record keeping of clearances.  As of 9/15/14 all files were up to date."

Group Responds

"We are pleased that DCYF has responded so quickly to our concerns. We believe that they are taking the necessary measures to ensure that child safety is paramount within John Hope. We will continue to push for ethical and transparent leadership within the organization and its funders," said group organizer Chace Baptista.  "We would also like to thank DCYF and it's other funders for supporting JHSH through this time of turmoil."


Related Slideshow: John Hope—Safety Violation Pics

The group Concerned Citizens for John Hope Settlement House brought the following pictures dealing with lack of safety to the attention of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.  

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Balding Tires

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Expired Sticker

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Balding Tire

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Expired Sticker

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Van Interior


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