2007 -- S 0785

Enacted 03/22/07







     Introduced By: Senators Perry, Sheehan, Sosnowski, Miller, and Pichardo

     Date Introduced: March 01, 2007



     WHEREAS, More than twenty percent (20%) of Rhode Island's children live in poverty

the highest rate of childhood poverty of the New England states; and

     WHEREAS, The rate of increase of childhood poverty in our state has been growing at a

rate that is greater than the other New England states; and

     WHEREAS, Families without adequate resources for housing, food, health care and other

essentials are under a heightened level of stress that contributes to a greater possibility of child

abuse or neglect; and

     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) is

the state agency devoted to the protection and care of the state's vulnerable children; and

     WHEREAS, The families served by DCYF have increasingly complex problems and

multiple challenges to overcome to provide secure and healthy environments for their children;


     WHEREAS, All children need safe and permanent families to nurture them and

safeguard their best interests; and

     WHEREAS, DCYF must be supported in its efforts to meet the current and future

individual physical, social and emotional needs of each child in need of state intervention; and

     WHEREAS, A December 13, 2006 hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services

Committee found that:

     As caseloads of DCYF social workers grow in number and complexity, so does

staff turnover, creating a downward cycle of effectiveness and morale; and

     An October 31, 2006 report of the Rhode Island Office of the Child Advocate

found persistent issues of concern regarding the safety and well-being of children

served by DCYF, including the rising caseloads; social worker continuing

education and job evaluations; and a backlog of foster parents awaiting licensure;


     DCYF must develop outcome and quality measures to guide funding and

program design for child welfare prevention and support services, including the

use of performance-based contracting with providers of care; and

     Numerous studies and recommendations have called on the department to

institute a better coordinated and managed approach to the behavioral health

needs of children; and

     There is concern regarding the planned programming and facilities for juvenile

justice, including females in detention; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby respectfully requests the Department of Children, Youth and Families to submit monthly

reports to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Fiscal Officer, for

one year beginning on March 1, 2007, including the following information:

     Caseloads of the Family Services Unit workers differentiating between workers

and supervisors with the mean, median and range of caseloads listed for each

type of worker in each regional office; and

     The use of overtime for Family Service Unit work, detailing not only the amount

of overtime in hours and cost, but the reasons for the use of that overtime; and

     The Adoption and Foster Care Unit's performance and outcome measurements,

including numbers of homes licensed, awaiting training, and awaiting licensure

by type of home (therapeutic, foster, kinship, pre-adoptive); and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby respectfully requests the Department of Children,

Youth and Families to submit biannual reports beginning on May 1, 2007, including the

following information:

     Progress toward addressing the facility and programming needs of the youth in

juvenile detention, particularly on the plans for the female youth; and

     Utilizing the outcome measures set forth by the federal review of state child

welfare agencies, progress toward achieving standards for the specific measures,

the safety, permanency and well-being; and

     The percentage of contracts issued by DCYF that report on specific family and

child-focused outcomes, and include independent evaluations of the contracted-

services effectiveness; and

     System changes made to address the behavioral health needs of children in the

most appropriate settings; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Director of the Rhode Island Department of

Children, Youth and Families.