video: Accusations of Negligence, Abuse in DCYF Homes

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


The out-of-state, for-profit homes that DCYF uses are being accused of abuse and neglect by one of their former residents.

That resident, Nicholas Alahverdian, leveled the accusations at the Department of Children Youth and Families at a press conference he held at the Statehouse yesterday.

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“DCYF has displayed over the past three decades that the management is fundamentally flawed, child protection is not taken seriously, group homes and similar facilities are not reviewed as often as they are lawfully required, and they recklessly send youth to facilities that are dangerous and often irrelevant to the youth’s treatment needs,” Alahverdian wrote in a letter to House Speaker Gordon Fox that he distributed prior to the conference.

He added: “An emergency oversight commission to review the activities, policies, and procedures of the Department is pertinent, as there are few other options that can veritably ensure that these vulnerable youth are not caught in the treacherous gears of the machinery of this rogue entity.”

Accusations of neglect, violation of rights

His letter and his remarks at the press conference contained a slew of accusations against DCYF.

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His main claim is that a number of DCYF group homes and treatment facilities out of state are “not conducive to the treatment or care of any youth.”

“As DCYF is plagued with problems and has remained in the public eye due to its mismanagement and many mistakes, the agency has exhibited its inability as a fundamentally flawed entity to continue to effectively serve the citizenry,” Alahverdian said.

He also said those out-of-state group homes and facilities have “infringed upon the constitutional rights” of the children under their care, including their right to contact an attorney, report abuse and neglect, and receive a “free and appropriate education.”

DCYF Responds

The Rhode Island Department of Children Youth and Families issued the following statement today in response to the accusations:

“DCYF has no documented evidence of substantiated abuse of Mr. [Alahverdian] in a residential setting. … DCYF's data does not suggest that any pattern of widespread abuse exists in the residential system in RI.”

It concluded: “Any report of suspected abuse is fully investigated… We don't know what Mr. [Alahverdian’s] specific allegations are, but will clearly be happy to investigate them if they are provided to us.”

Calls for legislation

Alahverdian said many of his concerns would be addressed by legislation introduced by Roberto DaSilva. So far, that legislation has yet to be filed, according to records on the General Assembly Web site.

Alahverdian is the Director of Policy and Research at NexusGovernment, a social justice group.


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