Health Care

Rhode Island Department of Health

The state Medical Examiner’s Office reports fewer cases in the backlog since the departure of the chief medical examiner. She was placed on administrative leave, and has now resigned.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Social workers at Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families say they have too many cases to really make a difference in children’s lives. The agency is already facing criticism for other problems, including putting one of the nation’s highest percentages of foster children in group homes. Continuing our series “Children in Crisis,” we spend a day in the field with one caseworker trying to manage through an agency in turmoil.                                      

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Want to take a deeper dive into Rhode Island's child welfare system? Here's a selection of reports and documents about the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, plus links to resources for anyone interested in getting involved or learning more.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Days after taking office, Gov. Gina Raimondo made a change in leadership at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. That was after a series of reports, including one from a Senate task force, found serious problems at the agency. A recent audit uncovered even deeper financial troubles than anyone realized.  Our series “Children in Crisis,”about child welfare in the Ocean State, began today. RIPR's Kristin Gourlay joins news director Elisabeth Harrison with this preview.

  Here's a transcript of the conversation.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Christian shares his story about growing up with an abusive mother, running away, and ending up in and out of group homes. Today he's on his own, trying to build a new life for himself. He hopes his story can help others. Here's a piece of that story, in his own words. (We're not using his last name to protect his privacy.)

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Rhode Island’s child welfare system is under the microscope. Gov. Gina Raimondo has called for a complete overhaul, saying the  Department of Children, Youth, and Families has not only been mismanaged, but has failed the children and families it’s supposed to serve.

 A Rhode Island Superior Court judge will allow an employment discrimination case involving medical marijuana to go forward. The case hinges on a University of Rhode Island student’s summer job and her status as a medical marijuana cardholder.


Newport Hospital has opened a new center for Lyme disease. Most doctors can treat Lyme with antibiotics, but the new clinic aims to help patients with lingering symptoms.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Can pharmacies play a bigger role to prevent death from drug overdose? That’s the question researchers from Rhode Island and Massachusetts hope to answer thanks to a new $1.3 million dollar federal grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

The team plans to figure out how pharmacies can promote the use of a drug called naloxone (sometimes called Narcan).

Rhode Island has been given the green light for a pilot program to coordinate health care for people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. They're known as “dual eligibles” and have to navigate two complex systems to get the care they need.

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.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Beginning this fall, all seventh graders in Rhode Island must receive the first dose of the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is already widely used, although some parents object.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In most cases it just goes away, but in others it can cause cervical and other kinds of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend routine vaccination for boys and girls around 11 years old.

The state health department is waiting to confirm a case of the measles. An infant in Barrington may have contracted the virus before receiving the vaccine.   Other children in a daycare setting may also have been exposed to the virus.

It’s been a little more than a year since Rhode Island signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to stop segregating and underpaying developmentally disabled workers. Fulfilling the terms of that agreement remain a work in progress.