Children in Crisis: Child Welfare In The Ocean State

Nov 12, 2015

Children in Crisis is a radio and online series exploring Rhode Island's troubled child welfare system. Stories investigate what's broken, how children and families are affected, and what's being done to fix the system.

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Child welfare agencies across the country are struggling, but Rhode Island ranks last or near the bottom on some of the most important child welfare metrics, from the percentage of children placed in group homes to the number of children who cycle in and out of the system. Social workers carry caseloads nearly twice the recommended average. And after several recent reports found Rhode Island's Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families had been badly mismanaged, new management has been installed and the state police are investigating financial irregularities.

Meanwhile, children and their families have suffered. New efforts are underway to reform the agency and improve those child welfare metrics, but the process is slow, and reformers face challenges that have festered for years.

Following are links to each story in the series, including a full transcript and audio. Audio links are also included on this page for convenience.

  1. Children in Crisis: With Few Alternatives, More Kids End Up In Group Homes (aired 8/12/15) 
  2. Children in Crisis: High Caseloads, High Stakes for DCYF Caseworkers (aired 8/13/15) 

  3. Children in Crisis: Caring For Foster Kids, Doctors Find Long Reach Of Neglect And Abuse (aired 8/13/15) 
  4. Children in Crisis: Struggling To Recruit Enough Foster Families (aired 8/14/15) 
  5. Children in Crisis: Home Visiting Aims To Prevent Child Abuse And Neglect (aired 8/18/15) 

  6. Children in Crisis: The Pain And Joy Of Advocating For Children In Court (aired 8/14/15) 

  7. Children in Crisis: Can We Solve The Group Home Conundrum? (aired 8/20/15) 

  8. Children in Crisis: Lisa's Story (online only) 

  9. Children in Crisis: Christian's Story (online only) 

  10. Related spot news coverage, on air debriefs, and blog posts about Rhode Island's child welfare agency, the Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families, can be found here.