Officials from the state’s child welfare agency go before a joint senate committee Wednesday. They’re expected to update lawmakers on their progress addressing some of the department’s shortcomings.
In January, a task force led by Rhode Island Senator Lou DiPalma recommended major changes at the Department of Children Youth and families. That’s in part because the agency was running over budget and because of concerns about practices like sending dozens of kids to out-of-state group homes. DiPalma said this hearing is intended to get an update on the recommendations.
“To see what progress has been made, see what help might be needed, and see where things need to go from here, realizing that some things that are short term, some things that are going to be medium term, and things that are going to be long-term,” said DiPalma.
DiPalma said he hopes to rebuild confidence in the agency. “Confidence that kids being brought into the care of the state are getting the services they need, at the right time, at the right place, for the right reason.”
The task force recommended that DCYF reduce caseloads for social workers. It asked the state to increase payments for foster parents. And it promoted investments to keep kids closer to home.
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