Jamia McDonald

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

It's not just financial irregularities plaguing the child welfare agency. There are lists of reforms officials must tackle - including 20 specific recommendations from a group of lawmakers.

When the state’s child welfare agency told the General Assembly it would need another cash infusion to make it through the end of the year, a group of lawmakers decided to dig in to the root cause of the agency’s financial problems.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Another audit has uncovered more irregularities in accounting practices at the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A spokesman for Rhode Island's Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families confirms an investigation is underway, but officials remain mum on the reasons why state police are looking into the child welfare agency's finances.

Child and Family RI

Rhode Island puts too many children in group homes. Everyone agrees that’s bad.

But dig a little deeper, and it seems Rhode Island does have some alternatives: therapists, family case managers, parenting coaches, visiting nurses. Lots of nonprofits serving children and families. So what's the disconnect? Here's a look in my reporter's notebook.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has called for a complete overhaul of the state’s child welfare agency. A new audit has found DCYF failed to follow basic accounting and purchasing practices. With more about the problems and the proposed fixes, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay joins news director Elisabeth Harrison in the studio.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has ordered a complete overhaul of The Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The child welfare agency has signed tens of millions of dollars in contracts with no financial controls or oversight.


Department of Children, Youth, and Families officials told a joint senate committee Wednesday they're making progress addressing 20 recommendations lawmakers issued in January.

Jamia McDonald was appointed to oversee those changes. Among a long list of initiatives underway at the child welfare agency, McDonald told committee members DCYF is working on improving the way new cases are handled and on moving more children out of group homes.

John Bender / RIPR

A Senate task force has come out with a troubling report on Rhode Island’s Department of Children Youth and Families – the agency that oversees child welfare and the state’s foster care system.  The report found significant evidence that some children in the system are not being well-served. Now serious questions are being raised about how the department is run.

Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison talked about the issue with task force co-chair State Senator Lou DiPalma.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A bill to change the requirements to lead the state Department of Children, Youth and Families ran into opposition from social workers during a House Education and Welfare Committee meeting Wednesday evening. The two sides also disputed the reason for persistent budgetary overruns at DCYF

Six social workers argued that expertise in protecting children is vital for the next head of DCYF. A bill under consideration by the House Education and Welfare Committee would eliminate a requirement that the director have a master’s in social work (or a closely related field).

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has picked Jamia McDonald, a respected state government veteran, for a high-profile role within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Some comings and goings in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office:

Jamia McDonald is moving from deputy chief of staff and the governor’s liason to the state’s emergency management agency to become executive director of RIEMA.

Christian Vareika, the governor’s deputy communications director and chief speechwriter, is leaving the administration to attend law school. Vareika worked on Chafee’s 2010 campaign and has crafted major Chafee speeches.

Communications Associate James Alvarez is leaving the administration to pursue a creer in the U.S. Army.