(Providence) – Standing in front of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in Providence, Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung, lashed out at Governor Gina Raimondo for her gross mismanagement of the department.
“Governor Raimondo began her reign over our state’s most vulnerable children by appointing an individual who didn’t even have the proper qualifications to run the department, resulting in Raimondo having to create a brand new job title to bring her friend on board,” said Fung. “The result: at least 19 children have died and at least another 13 seriously injured. This is more than unacceptable. It’s unconscionable.”
The person in question, Jamia McDonald, didn’t have the requisite degree in social work or related fields as required by law, and later went on to work at Deloitte, the consulting firm associated with the UHIP debacle.
Fung pointed to an internal report from March 2017 indicating that in many cases DCYF failed to provide support services or community service referrals to families in need; did not “consistently, adequately or judiciously follow the law or their own policies and associated procedures”, and “investigations were not initiated despite meeting the relevant criteria”, among other findings. The report concludes that twenty-four percent of calls should not have been categorized as an informational referral, and instead should’ve met the criteria for an investigation.
Fung said he’s heard repeatedly that the department’s emphasis immediately shifted from child welfare to lowering costs and improving statistics. As a result, child investigations and the number of children put into custody were reduced to artificially improve overall statistics provided to federal and state agencies.
“On day one, I will immediately add additional foster care workers to improve safety and family support, and social workers to get caseloads down to national standards, with a subspecialty into areas of opioid-addicted families,” said Fung. “It should not be surprising to anyone that during Raimondo’s reign, 96% of DCYF social workers have had caseloads exceeding the national standards.”
“To add insult to injury, there have been reports of group homes having staff running prostitution rings, and some group homes using state money to pay for purchases at upscale restaurants and hotels,” said Fung. “Under a Fung administration, we will have weekly visits from DCYF supervisors to each group home and perform regular audits. Accountability will be a top priority.”
“If we cannot protect our children who are at the height of vulnerability, then I don’t even know what we think we’re doing here as leaders in government,” said Mayor Fung.