The State’s Child Advocate, Jennifer Griffith, has announced that she has appointed a panel of eight community professionals to conduct a multidisciplinary review of the death of a seven month old infant. This child was not in state custody at the time of the fatality, but was previously involved in a case that was open to the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).
The RI Senate Task Force charged with investigating the Department of Children, Youth, and Families and the two networks that provide services to DCYF families, has recommended that DCYF “monitor the networks more closely and be more involved with the families it serves” according to the Providence Journal. The task force offered 20 recommendations to improve DCYF.
At a Senate meeting to discuss Rhode Island’s budget deficits, DCYF Director Janice DeFrances proposed changes that would save nearly $1.6 million, against a projected deficit of $13.8 million for the Department. However, Ms. DeFrances stated to the Senate that costs for out-of-state placements, a delay in plans to establish an in-state group home for adolescent girls, and the loss of $3 million in federal dollars have all contributed to the current deficit.
The Child Advocate
Katelyn E. Medeiros, Esquire
Ms. Medeiros joined the OCA Staff in May, 2014 as the Staff Attorney and the Case Manager of the child victim compensation cases. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Justice Studies and Sociology from Rhode Island College in 2010, graduating summa cum laude. Ms. Medeiros graduated magna cum laude from Roger Williams School of Law with her Juris Doctor in 2013. In addition, she was a member of the Roger Williams School of the Law Honors Program, selected to participate in the Fenstein Center’s Public Service Externship Program and selected for the In-House Counsel Externship Program. She was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar and the Massachusetts Bar in 2013 and the U.S. District Court in 2014. Ms. Medeiros first worked for the OCA from 2012-2013 as a Rule 9 Intern. Prior to joining the OCA, Katelyn worked in private practice. Katelyn remains involved in her community as a youth soccer coach.
Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
Kathryn R. Cortes
Ms. Cortes joined the OCA in 2007 as the Chief Field Investigator. Ms. Cortes was promoted to Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist in September 2013. Ms. Cortes graduated from Salve Regina University in 1998. Prior to joining the OCA Ms. Cortes was a counselor for youth in residential services for over six (6) years and formerly ran pro-social groups as a Program Director at the Rhode Island Training School. Ms. Cortes is active in numerous groups and committees including but not limited to; the State f RI Child Death Review Team; LGBTQQ policy committee to which she has provided testimony before the Senate to ensure the legal rights of LGBTQQ youth involved in State care. Ms. Cortes also serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and is extremely active in bringing suicide awareness and education to the State.