Lawmakers propose 'Emergency Oversight Commission' for DCYF
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Lawmakers in the Rhode Island House of Representatives have proposed a bill that would create an 'Emergency Oversight Commission' to monitor the state's Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The bill's sponsors are Representatives Ray Hull (D - North Providence), John Lombardi (D - Providence), Dave Bennett (D - Warwick), and Jim McLaughlin (D - Cumberland), who filed the bill on Friday, February 14.
If approved, 9 representatives would be assigned to the commission by Speaker, Nick Mattiello. That commission would investigate any unethical procedures going on at DCYF. A report of their findings would be due the next year.
The creation of such a committee was pushed forward by Nicholas Alahverdian, who went through DCYF as a child, and now advocates for the reform of the Department.
"DCYF has been fatally flawed and plagued with problems for decades," Alahverdian told ABC6.
"I've lived it, I grew up with it, and its time for it to change."
Alahverdian, who was recently diagnosed with late-stage Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, has proposed the creation of the commission several times, but it has never come to fruition.
Representative John Lombardi tells ABC6, he thinks that's because legislative leaders have not made it their top priority.
"We need to resolve these issues," Lombardi told ABC6.
"Unfortunately, it affects people in the poorer communities - people who do not have means, people of color -- and that's why it should be prioritized."
"If you look at the turmoil in DCYF and what may be happening to other children, it's more than adequate to push it forward now," said Representative Ray Hull.
While Representatives Lombardi and Hull say they will fight tooth and nail to pass the bill, they fear legislators may be side-tracked in upcoming months with Governor Raimondo's $10.2 billion budget proposal.
(C) WLNE TV / ABC 6 2020.