Health Care

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

For the past week, we’ve been focusing on "Children in Crisis," our series about Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The agency is struggling to cope with an influx of neglect and abuse cases and has run into financial trouble. Now, we explore how a national "home visiting"  program aims to keep families from entering the system in the first place.

Immunization Action Coalition

Protestors are asking the state health department to abolish the requirement that all seventh graders receive the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cervical and other kinds of cancers. Parents can request an exemption. But the groups say they’re still opposed to the mandate. The health department has added additional community meeting dates to respond to public concerns.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families is struggling with an influx of children who have been abused and neglected. Many of their cases go before Rhode Island’s Family Court, where judges play a key role in deciding when children can return to their homes. The drama of lives in upheaval unfolds every day of the week in the Garrahy Judicial complex, downtown Providence.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Lisa (we've changed her name to protect her privacy)  spent years trying to get her daughter back, after the Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families removed her. 

The reason? Lisa says she had a temper, but that any allegations about child abuse were false. It's difficult to confirm Lisa's version of events, but what's clear is that losing her daughter was devastating. 

Here's Lisa's story of what it was like to try to win her daughter back.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island doesn’t have enough foster families to meet a growing need. That’s one reason the Department of Children, Youth, and Families places a higher percentage of kids in group homes than almost any other state. DCYF officials acknowledge the problem. But recruiting new foster families has been tough.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Children who experience abuse or neglect–or even the stress of poverty—can have serious health problems later in life. That’s one of many challenges for children in Rhode Island’s child welfare system. We continue our series “Children in Crisis” with this look at how some health care professionals hope to address those challenges. 

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.

KRISTIN GOURLAY / RIPR

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).

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