From Pixel to Paper

Yes, that’s my piece about DCYF’s structural problems found on this morning’s Providence Journal editorial page, nestled between the Editor’s thoughts on NY Mayor Bloomberg’s possible presidential run and Froma Harrop’s piece on the house swallow. Of necessity–no surprise–I had to boil down the information I provided in my lengthier posts hereabouts (here and here), so if new visitors are interested on where I got the numbers, please follow the links. Finally, there is also an informative piece by the ProJo’s Steve Peoples on well-meaning Child Advocate Jametta Alston, who brought the problems at DCYF more directly into the light.

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Tim
Tim
14 years ago

Marc,
Congrats on being published in the ProJo. Good piece and as always well researched. Quick FYI Marc the child advocate is Jametta Alston not Ometta Alston though you should probably refer to her as Your Royal Highness or Mother Theresa after reading Steve Peoples story. Personally methinks Ms. Alston is much more politically motivated in her world than she lets on. Had wondered why she didn’t go after the Rhode Island family court in her federal lawsuit. The family court has let these kids down as much as any other agency in the state. Do you suppose that would have hindered her selection or Senate confirmation for a future judgeship with that court? Not quite a political virgin is she? lol Ms. Alston letting the court off the hook in her federal suit smells of backroom political patronage with eyes toward a future robe of her own.
Good to know it’s all about the children!

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“The problems occurring at DCYF are rooted in the same inefficiencies that plague the entire state government. Until overly generous increases in salaries and benefit packages regardless of individual performance, overprotective unions stonewalling against reform, and administrative bloat — to mention three practices — are changed, we will continue to shortchange both the end-users and the funders of government services.”
Excellent, Marc.
And kudos to the ProJo editor who identified Anchor Rising without using the adjective “conservative”.

Marc Comtois
14 years ago

Tim, thanks for the catch and elaboration.I’ll keep my eyes open.
Susan, Thanks!

Will
Will
14 years ago

Marc,
That was an excellent piece. Definitely a huge step up from the usual Bakst, Kerr, and Harrop birdcage liner. Don’t you think you’re slumming a bit by getting involved with the likes of the Projo? Anyway, great work.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Helen Glover on 920 WHJJ is talking about Ms. Alston’s suit and just quoted from Marc’s piece.

Tim
Tim
14 years ago

Marc,
Helen Glover gave you and your DCYF piece some nice exposure on her show yesterday. Got quite a chuckle when Ms. Glover called the Federal lawsuit filed by Jametta Alston a ‘hissy fit’ brought on by an internal power struggle involving Ms. Alston and DCYF and not motivated by the abuse of the children. May want to rethink your stance on this ‘well meaning’ Child Advocate.
Will,
You’re so right! What sets Marc apart from Projo columnists is twofold. He researches and actually backs up his point of view with facts and more importantly people actually read Marc. lol

Jay B. Gold
Jay B. Gold
14 years ago

Reunify the Families ————————- Two hundred thirty-three million dollars to run the DCYF for 2008, according to Marc Comtois, is a staggering sum. Mr. Comtois may be on to something by pointing out the per-worker average increase in salary as a contributor to a structural problem at the DCYF. To add to his analysis would be the recognition that Richard Wexler, Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform (see http://www.nccpr.org/) made in the ProJo pages November 2005 where he asserted that Rhode Island tears children from their families at twice the national average. Is RI really twice as abusive to its kids? Not likely. It is more believable that DCYF suffers from (1) the “when in doubt, yank ’em out” cover-the-rear hysteria that results when a child is seriously abused at home. No DCYF worker is admonished for removing a child unnecessarily — a principle which values the job security of the worker over that of the child or his family. Combine this principle with “children never lie” and “believe the victim” and you have a runaway process that rips kids from their families almost unstoppably. DCYF observers are deeply mistaken when they assert that most of the children deserve to be separated from their families. And that most of the parents of these children are unworthy of parenthood. Acording to Wexler’s analysis most of the children and parents could have remained together. See “The Evidence is in: Foster Care vs. Keeping Families Together: The Definitive Study” at http://www.nccpr.org/reports/evidence.doc But money, as Mr. Comtois suggests, is part of the problem. At over a quarter of a billion dollar budget, DCYF is a veritable industry of child abuse. Its product is rescuing victims — the more victims it identifies, the better for its survival. All the more reason to… Read more »

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