Serpa Says Better Late Than Never on State’s Decision to Close Group Home

Representative Serpa at a previous Oversight Committee Hearing.

Representative Patricia Serpa (Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry) today expressed relief that the state is cancelling its contract with the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative.

“While I’m gratified that the director of DCYF has seen fit to stop doing business with the collaborative, I just wish it had been done before the Oversight Committee began to investigate,” said Serpa. “After hearing the report of the horrible criminal activities taking place at this home, I was shocked and horrified that we hadn’t cut our ties immediately.”

Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith criticized the group home for its total lack of services or record keeping. Furthermore, last year, Griffith was at family court when she heard a defendant say her pimp managed the group home. 

Griffith immediately began an investigation and found the group home uncooperative. At first, the state refused to cancel its contract, which was paying the home almost $1 million per year. 

Griffith also reported that the group home uses banned aversion therapy tactics. She also said that the cooperative neglected to monitor residents and provided false documents.

Her report found at least one resident who was not receiving necessary sexual offender treatment and staff members often slept or watched television. Residents were often left unattended.

The state’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families announced last year, just days after the Oversight Committee hearing, that it was cancelling its contract. 

Russell Moore
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