Rhode Island Child Advocate slams group home agency

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island’s child advocate says the state should cut ties with a group home in Pawtucket because it provides substandard care.

Jennifer Griffith released a report Tuesday recommending state welfare officials stop placements to the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative.


Blackstone operates two homes in Pawtucket for up to nine male youths. Griffith’s report says Blackstone failed to report drug and alcohol abuse by residents, and violence. It also reportedly uses banned aversion therapy. Griffith says the cooperative didn’t monitor residents and provided false documents.

The report found that at least one resident was not receiving necessary sexual offender treatment and staff members often slept or watched television, leaving residents unattended.

“Based on the nature and the severity of the findings throughout the review, it is the recommendation of the OCA; that BVYFC be immediately enjoined and restrained from providing any further services to the youth in the care of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. This agency is not providing a therapeutic environment nor is it meeting the best interests, safety and daily well-being of DCYF youth,” the report read.

Griffith’s report follows the indictment of former Blackstone counselor Reysean Williams, who prosecutors say used the company’s van to operate a sex ring. Williams’ attorney says his client denies involvement in sex trafficking.

Blackstone’s executive director didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Eyewitness News contacted DCYF about the report and was told the agency is reviewing the Child Advocate’s report and that, in the meantime, it has suspended all new referrals to the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.