In July, the General Assembly recognized that the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) was suffering from a staffing crisis.  We knew this crisis was severely negatively impacting our state’s most vulnerable children and we did something about it.  The General Assembly authorized an additional $9.4 million in the DCYF budget for the sole purpose of hiring an additional 91 frontline workers in order to provide the help and support that these children and families need.

October is almost done and guess how many workers have been hired?

Zero.

That’s right – zero.

While tragic and maddening stories about DCYF’s failures are broadcast over the media, with countless more going unreported, the administration of this troubled agency are simply not doing everything in their power to help our most-vulnerable children and their families.  If they were, this large infusion of funding would have immediately been used for its clear and legislatively- stated purpose – hire more front line workers who are desperately in need. 

Instead, the General Assembly has been presented with excuses, delays, and a plan to hire more supervisors rather than the much-needed front line workers that our children, families and advocates have been pleading for at every House Oversight or Finance meeting on the subject.

Our kids and families can no longer wait for DCYF to get their act together.  When listening to the concerns and needs of children, parents and advocates, the General Assembly responded and appropriated the needed funding to fix the dysfunction and failure at DCYF.  Now it’s time for DCYF to do its job and start protecting our kids.

Anything less is completely unacceptable.

Rep. Julie A. Casimiro, a Democrat, represents District 31 in North Kingstown and Exeter.  Rep. Thomas E. Noret, a Democrat, represents District 25 in Coventry and West Warwick.

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