PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) — Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Jan. 8 that the state has settled a decade-long civil action brought forth by Children’s Rights Inc. over the quality of care at the Rhode Island Island Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF).

On June 28, 2007, Children’s Rights Inc. filed a lawsuit on behalf of a putative class of all children in DCYF’s legal custody. The lawsuit alleged abuse, neglect and a violation of the children’s constitutional rights. It also alleged systematic deficiencies at DCYF. To settle the allegations, DCYF will reform its case management, child placement, and child protective services.

"This settlement is the result of years of many individuals working toward the goal of establishing a child welfare system that puts the well-being and safety of the child first and foremost and creating measurable targets to ensure DCYF is doing all it can in the best interest of the children and families it serves," Kilmartin said.

Kilmartin noted the agreement is a roadmap to pave the way for improvements at DCYF, which ultimately benefits the children in DCYF’s care.

“This agreement, unlike other child welfare settlements that have required a special master, provides the administration flexibility in implementing the agreed upon changes, while providing measurable benchmarks to track DCYF's progress,” Kilmartin said.

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