The head of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families testified before state lawmakers Monday. This comes after the deaths of several children under state supervision.
In the last several months there have been four infant deaths and two near fatalities of children known to state DCYF. Following that, the state office of the Child Advocate issued a report outlining steps DCYF should take to keep children safer.
DCYF head Dr. Trista Piccola spoke before a state Senate Committee explaining some of the steps she’s taken to improve the department’s handling of child abuse or suspected abuse cases. She said she’s increased staffing levels as an initial step.
“I made a very public commitment, even without understanding fully all the complexities involved in Rhode Island’s hiring process, to fill 65 front line positions by May 31st,” said Piccola. “And as of today, we have hired 50 of the 65 front line workers.”
Front line workers work directly with children and families. The report from the state's Child Advocate recommended more staff members to ease heavy individual caseloads at the department.