Top Rhode Island Democrat Slams Dem Gov Gina Raimondo’s Leadership Vacuum On Child Welfare Scandal

"The multiple failures by the same people year after year perpetuate problems..."

Just days after Days after the Providence Journal released a bombshell report exposing a major scandal at the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration has taken no visible action to address the crisis. Remember: the mismanagement at the DCYF "left young people in their care hospitalized, endangered, or exploited."

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But while Raimondo stays silent, members of her own party are speaking out. Enter Democrat State Rep. Pat Serpa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight. Serpa took to Facebook to denounce the "leadership vacuum" while promising to hold the administration accountable. 

Pat Serpa
There exists a leadership vacuum in this state the likes of which I have never seen. The multiple failures by the same people year after year perpetuate problems that place kids at risk when they're supposed to be ensuring their safety. Make no mistake about it: more money is NOT the answer. These administrators are allocated millions of dollars every year to run their operations. They're not doing their jobs when they don't hold those under them accountable. Well, the House Oversight Committee will. DCYF is in chaos.

Serpa then followed up with a comment: 

Pat Serpa
I'm doing my best on House Oversight to put these issues out there so that those in charge fix them. We, as representatives, are not the executive branch of government and we can't MAKE the administrators do their jobs. They make excellent salaries, have plenty of assistant and associate directors and ample clerical help. There's simply no excuse for administrative misstep after administrative misstep.

Here's more background from the RGA: 

Raimondo’s incompetent handling of the DCYF has been a problem for years. In 2015, she appointed staffers to lead the DCYF who did not even meet state-required qualifications for the DCYF director position. Now, with members of her own party criticizing her failed leadership in the wake of actions by state workers that endangered Rhode Island youths, will Gina Raimondo finally take any action to rectify her administration’s inexcusable failures? Rhode Islanders deserve an answer.

Providence Journal Editorial: Aftermath of Juvenile Melee

Poor management has led to big — and utterly unacceptable — problems at the Rhode Island Training School, a locked facility for juveniles that is run by the troubled state Department of Children, Youth and Families.


A sluggish hierarchy failed to address oft-stated warnings about security, equipment and staffing. Managers in a position to get things moving — up to and including, presumably, DCYF Director Trista Piccola and Gov. Gina Raimondo — were not capable of cutting through the thick red tape.
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Are there leaders in state government who are capable of grasping serious problems, getting the governor’s full attention, and cutting through red tape before people get hurt?"