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7/16/2014 Senate forms Task Force on DCYF and Family Care Networks
STATE HOUSE – Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed today announced the formation of the Senate Task Force on the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and Family Care Networks. The Senate has created the task force in response to continued challenges facing DCYF and the nonprofit networks that provide services to children in state care.

Currently, DCYF and its networks are working together to successfully resolve contract negotiations, and the goal of the Senate task force is to ensure that oversight and public accountability are maintained as discussions move forward.

“The Senate task force builds on extensive oversight work that the Senate Finance and Senate Health and Human Services committees have undertaken over the past two years,” President Paiva Weed said. “Concerns for the welfare of our children and families are high priorities for the Senate. That is evidenced by the fact that nine senators have volunteered to serve on this special task force. They represent both the Senate Finance Committee, which has been closely monitoring DCYF funding and contracting issues, as well as the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which has been focused on positive outcomes and investments in our children and youth.”

The Senate Task Force on DCYF and Family Care Networks will meet during the summer and fall to take testimony from Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s special advisory team, nonprofit networks, and other experts.

“The members of the task force are dedicated to increasing the state’s capacity to provide services for children,” said Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist.12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), co-chairman of the task force. “We need to create effective solutions and partnerships that keep our children in Rhode Island, rather then sending them to out-of-state placements that isolate them from their families and that can be prohibitively expensive.”

Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey (D-Dist. 34, Exeter, Charlestown, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich), who will also co-chair the task force, added, “The contract that is negotiated is just the first step toward building a strong foundation for the provision of support and services that every child in state care will receive. As important as this short-term action on the contract is, the members of the Senate task force know that we also must pay attention to the implementation of the services as time progresses and DCYF’s longer-term plans.”

Senate Health and Human Services Committee chairman Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), whose committee produced a report on issues related to DCYF in November 2013, concluded that “the Senate wants all children in state care to flourish through the support they receive. This does not happen by itself. It results from sound contractual relationships between the state and our family service provider agencies that focus on performance indicators and outcome measures that the Senate has long advocated for.”

The members of the task force are: Senators DiPalma (co-chairman), Rumsey (co-chairwoman), Miller, David E. Bates (R-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Christopher S. Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol), Juan M. Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) and V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).

For more information, contact:
Legislative Press Bureau,
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457