The following was submitted by Adoption Rhode Island.

The Center for Advanced Practice at Adoption Rhode Island and the RI Office of the Child Advocate invites the public to participate in the second in our “Community Conversations” series – a panel discussion and community forum focused on child welfare in Rhode Island.  Sponsored by Senator Dawn Euer, Senator Lou DiPalma, Representative Lauren Carson, Representative Terri Cortvriend and Representative Deb Ruggiero, this event will be held Monday, March 16th at the Middletown Public Library from 6:00-8:00pm.

The evening will include a panel discussion with representatives from DCYF, RI Family Court, the Office of the Child Advocate, The Coalition for Children and Families, Child and Family, Newport Community Mental Health Center, and Boys Town, along with parent and youth advocates. A Q&A will follow, offering an opportunity for attendees to share opinions and experiences related to the strengths and challenges in our child welfare system as well as ways to improve the system. 

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Co-sponsoring legislators are eager to be a part of this important gathering…

Senator Lou DiPalma noted,  “I look forward to hearing from our public and private agencies that serve our children and welcome a discussion with members of our community about the strengths and challenges of our system.”

“I believe that it is vitally important to provide an open and safe venue such as this for our state agencies to interact with both our community partners and our constituents.  I look forward to listening and learning from both the public who will hopefully share their experiences and from the professionals on the ground whose job it is to assist and protect vulnerable children, who through no fault of their own, find themselves in the most challenging and unfortunate circumstances”, stated Representative Cortvriend.

Representative Deborah Ruggiero commented, “We must always be asking ourselves how can we better serve our kids in state care because they want what every child wants—to be loved, to get a good education and to have a meaningful life.”

The Center for Advanced Practice at Adoption RI and the Office of the Child Advocate hosted the first in the “Community Conversations” series, co-sponsored by Representative Julie Casimiro in North Kingstown in early February. Turn out was great, with standing room only participants sharing heartfelt, well-received stories, concerns, and suggestions for future consideration.

The evening was lively and constructive, providing facilitators with issues that will be further addressed with additional legislators, child welfare professionals and advocates in a move toward system progression. 

Representative Casimiro is working with The Center for Advanced Practice at Adoption Rhode Island and the Office of the Child Advocate to plan additional “Community Conversations” in the coming months in different communities around the state. 

These events are free and open to the public and media.  Pre-registration is not required. 

For more information, contact Darlene Allen, CEO and Executive Director at Adoption RI at 401-865-6000 x301 or by email at dallen@adoptionri.org.

Adoption Rhode Island is a private nonprofit agency whose mission is to create safety, belonging and permanency for adopted and foster children, vulnerable youth, and families through compassionate services, advocacy, and education.

The mission of the Office of the Child Advocate is to protect the legal rights of children in State care and to promote policies and practices which ensure that children are safe, that children have permanent and stable families, and that children in out of home placements have their physical, mental, medical, educational, emotional, and behavioral needs met.


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