The Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) and the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) and are releasing a joint statement on Wednesday’s settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).
Read more about the settlement here.
Below is the entire statement from RIPIN and CPNRI:
"We applaud the DOJ’s decision to investigate the State’s failure to meet its obligations to provide services and support for thousands of children with disabilities in Rhode Island. We are concerned, however, that the State cannot possibly meet its obligations outlined in the settlement agreement announced on Wednesday, May 18.
The State relies on nonprofit organizations to provide services and support to children with disabilities as required by federal and state law. Decades of underfunding have led to the types of failures now attracting the DOJ’s attention. The State’s contracted service providers simply do not have the capacity to help the State do what it has promised to the DOJ. Without making significant investments in the systems that children with disabilities rely upon, the State will not be able to comply with the terms of this settlement. That will leave the State at continued risk of DOJ intervention while also continuing to leave children and families without critical services.
The State has a nearly $900 million surplus and over $1 billion in federal aid to tackle this problem—now is the time to make long-needed investments that will allow providers to recruit and retain high-quality staff to meet our children’s needs.”