Developmental Disabilities

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Maria Montanaro, head of the state’s behavioral health agency, is stepping down at the end of this month. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Montanaro’s resignation today; no reason was given.

Current Deputy Director Rebecca Boss has been tapped to serve as acting director of the department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals while the agency looks for new leadership.

Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Montanaro to lead the behavioral health agency 18 months ago.

 A U.S. District Court judge says Rhode Island must speed up its compliance with an order to help developmentally disabled adults– or face fines. The order, or so-called consent decree, requires the state to move the adults into more appropriate work settings.

The ultimate goal of that decree was to end the use of so-called sheltered workshops that paid developmentally disabled adults low wages to do piece work. 

Rhode Island College

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law had a profound effect on the way people with disabilities are treated in the workplace, at school, and in our communities. And recently, Rhode Island settled a complaint that it violated the law by segregating and underpaying developmentally disabled workers.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says he is “outraged and saddened” by the findings of a Federal Justice Department investigation, alleging civil rights violations in a program for disabled students.

In a written statement, Taveras says the program, which ran for two decades at the Birch Vocational School inside Mt. Pleasant High School, failed its most vulnerable students. The city is looking into pursuing criminal charges.