PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) has introduced legislation (2017-H 5213) that would prohibit the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) from placing, through the courts, an abused or neglected child with either the child’s paternal or maternal grandparents without interviewing and investigating both sides of the child’s family.
“First and foremost, this bill’s intent is to protect our state’s children who are in dangerous situations. The act will ensure that if an abused child is in need of placement, the family member who is given custody of the child is the best possible person or persons who can protect and provide for the child the most,” said Representative Canario.
The act would exclude recommendations of DCYF regarding the placement of an abused or neglected child with other family members unless the recommendation is based on the investigation of both the paternal and maternal branches of the child’s family.
“There has been too many instances where DCYF has arbitrarily placed abused children with a family member without investigating other possible guardians as well, and in the most horrific instances, the child was in worse danger than before the placement,” said Representative Canario.
“The state’s abused and neglected children have already been through too many terrible and traumatic experiences and we owe it to them to place them in the safest and most stable environments possible and that can only happen if thorough investigations into the child’s entire extended family takes place.”