Senators Ask DCYF For Action Plan To Prevent More Child Deaths

Apr 6, 2017

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers are asking the head of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families how she plans to address a scathing report about the deaths of several children involved with the agency. The Senate Committees on Health and Human Services and Finance want to know exactly what steps DCYF will take to implement the report’s recommendations.

The Office of the Child Advocate recently issued a report outlining the opportunities DCYF missed to prevent the death of four infants involved in the system and the near-deaths of two others. The joint Senate committee sent a letter to DCYF director Dr. Trista Piccola asking her to outline how she’ll respond to each of the report’s 21 recommendations for improvement. The Senators’ letter expresses the need for urgency to address any current threats to children’s safety as well as the backlog of alleged maltreatment cases needing investigation.

One recommendation is to overhaul the way DCYF assesses a child’s risk when a call first comes in. Another is to investigate –in person – any allegations of abuse of children age six or younger. The news comes on the heels of a new report about two more deaths of infants whose families are involved with DCYF. 

Read the letter here:


Joint Senate Letter to DCYF Director Dr. Trista Piccola (PDF)
Joint Senate Letter to DCYF Director Dr. Trista Piccola (Text)