DCYF’s new ‘system- of- care’ model is a philosophy emphasizing family preservation using home based services. With the budget crisis as it is and protesters going to the state house to protest Chafee’s spending cuts, the state’s child-welfare officials are embracing a plan they say will cut $25 million from the DCYF’s budget starting July 1.
DCYF plans to save $10.8 million on residential services by reducing the number of children and teenagers sent to shelters, group homes and live-in treatment programs and be limiting most stays to 90 days. In order to make their savings goals, DCYF has to cut their residential population to about 603 youth, or 115 fewer during the first half of this year.
DCYF’s caseloads have dropped by 30 percent within the past three years, to about 3,400 cases. DCYF anticipates that this will continue, to about 3,090 by the year 2012. The main reason for the decline in caseloads is that DCYF has a partnership with four non-profit agencies. These agencies have contracts with DCYF, to provide screening, treatment and community- based referrals for the children and families that are at risk of abuse or neglect. The agencies manage their clients’ cases and offer screening, counseling, behavioral therapy and parenting skills.
DCYF hopes to save, by cutting the 78 service contractors down to two or three primary providers, about $4.9 million in the next year.
Another proposed plan to cut cost is to move the females at the training school, to the complex’s new buildings in order to reduce staffing. This would require the local schools districts and chapter schools to reimburse DCYF for the cost of educating students at the training school. But, how would this work? With the school system as it is, cuts being made to their budgets and some schools having to buy their own supplies and with the additional school closings planned due to lack of funds, how will they be able to pay DCYF? Wouldn’t that put more strain on schools?
What will happen to the quality of care if these cuts go through as planned? Many of the in school, after school and work place programs are also being cut.
DCYF hasn’t had the best track record as far as quality of care in the first place. There is a lawsuit against DCYF by some of their ex-clients claiming that they were abused both physically and sexually, in some cases neglected, within the homes that the department placed them.
How smart is it for DCYF to make these ambush children with these cuts to their budget? How much money will this really save for the state if funds to programs that are needed are cut and no plans are made to fund their replacements? Seems like bad planning, all at the cost of our children’s needs and safety.