Nicholas Alahverdian

Alahverdian: DCYF report shows recurrent and ominous abuse findings

Mattiello and Raimondo need to go. Here’s why.

October 5, 2018

By Nicholas Alahverdian

I have, in collaboration with current and former Representatives Bob DaSilva, Raymond Hull, Michael Marcello, Anastasia Williams and multitudinous others, drafted and submitted bills to ameliorate the seemingly irremediable Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). We have introduced this legislation year after year. Each bill, year after year, has been held for further study.

Interestingly enough, when I was actively lobbying for this legislation in my 2011 DCYF reform blitz, we had over 40 co-sponsors in the House. Think about that for a second. The House of Representatives has 75 members. There were forty co-sponsors. If those bills were transmitted from committee to the floor for a vote, they would have passed with flying colors.

Speaker Mattiello: Nothing gets by him

Ah, but let us not us forget the iniquitous practice of the Office of the Rhode Island Speaker of the House of Representatives (at the time it was Gordon D. Fox). If Gordon Fox, a de facto potentate and his consigliere, Frank Anzeveno, did not approve of this legislation — and yes, I would go so far to say that if any of their donors or friends opposed the legislation — the bill would die in committee. Plain and simple.

Nicholas Mattiello, October 2018
Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the House

Needless to say, my legislation (and the legislation co-sponsored by >50% of the Rhode Island House of Representatives), died in their respective committees at the direct orders of both Speakers Fox and Mattiello each year the bills were introduced .

Fast-forward seven years: The amazing thing about these bills is that they address each of the key issues set out by the federal government in its critical audit of DCYF released in October 2018. The federal government agency that performed the audit was the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), under the umbrella of the United States Department of Health & Human Services.

Read: Providence Journal coverage of federal report slamming DCYF

Clearly, had these legislative changes been codified into state law, perhaps the outcomes of the ACF Child & Family Service Review would be more favorable — especially in an election year.

These are the requested changes, according to the Journal:

  1. Developing appropriate safety plans;
  2. Conducting ongoing quality safety and risk assessments;
  3. Achieving “timely permanency” for children in foster care;
  4. Engaging with parents;
  5. Ensuring appropriate assessment of, and service delivery to, children and families.

The legislation developed by me and my talented team of advisors who just so happen to be the most efficient elected officials in the state can solve each of those five problems.

The issue? State contractors will lose money. Unions will be furious. Kids won’t need to be institutionalized, resulting in further profit loss, and a bunch of unions, contractors, and other stakeholders will experience a similar fiscal loss as a result of foster home and permanent family-setting rate increases.

Read that paragraph again. Yes, I am insinuating that as a result of the way business is done in Rhode Island, kids will continue to suffer and be abused because of the fact that money won’t be going into the right pockets.

Here are a few examples when people have tried to implement those suggested solutions.

The Legislation Drafted by Alahverdian

The following legislation — introduced most years since 2011 — has always been held by by leadership “for further study.” Why? Not because they want to conduct research and tests to ensure that this is the best legislative solution. Absolutely not. It is because paychecks and state contracts depend on working with these monstrous, shady service providers with a singular goal of reaping profits and decreasing costly services.

Trista Piccola, DCYF, Rhode Island, Abuse
Embattled DCYF Director and Raimondo-appointee Trista Piccola testifies about abuse and negligence of children in her care

Raimondo-appointee and DCYF Director Trista Piccola is looking on track to become yet another ill-suited and unexciting bureaucrat. Piccola is virtually unrecognizable from her predecessors. She is indistinguishable from the incompetent and execrable Jay Lindgren, Patricia Martinez, and Janice DeFrances. 

Unless Rhode Island elects another governor and that governor replaces Piccola, Rhode Island will be left with someone who will barely collaborate with the community, someone who will not make necessary changes, someone who will not preemptively prevent child abuse, and someone who will not aid young adults in becoming the best they can be — this is what the statistics are indicating for Trista Piccola’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

The monthly DCYF abuse stories in The Providence Journal are becoming repulsive

I am sick and tired of decades of Providence Journal reports echoing the same thing year after year. Children are being abused. There is a lack of permanency.

The lifetime bureaucrats (like Mike Burk and Kevin Aucoin) are there for the pay check (and in the case of Burk, he gets to socialize with lawmakers at the State House in an effort to bolster his standing with the Rhode Island Democratic Party). Little is being done to beneficially sway the DCYF away from its child welfare-bot machine approach to care and transition to safe home-based care or foster home-based system of care where kids are guaranteed a school placement, extra-curricular activities, and a place of employment, if appropriate.

Here are the bills:

2011 — House Bill 5746 — An Act to Eliminate out of State Placements (Representatives DaSilva, Bennett, Guthrie, Williams, McCauley)

2011 — House Bill 5855 — An Act to Create the Rhode Island House of Representatives Emergency Oversight Commission on the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (Representatives Handy, Blazejewski, Valencia, Williams, and Tarro)

2011 — House Bill 5863 — An Act to Enhance the Children’s Bill of Rights (Representatives Marcello, DaSilva, and Blazejewski)

All it takes is a simple legislative fix. It not only benefits the kids in state care and our economy — it also benefits the state’s reputation so Rhode Island won’t be consistently embarrassed on the national stage.

Raimondo and Mattiello have had their chance to transform DCYF. It’s not happening.

Gina Raimondo, Governor, Rhode Island, failure
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

Gina comes from a wealthy background managing hedge funds and peddling her name for the gubernatorial slot since she was elected General Treasurer. Unfortunately, she has put the State of Rhode Island through disaster after disaster. UHiP. DCYF. Questionable campaign contributions and so much more.

Mattiello is a completely different creature. He’s a Cranston character — one who prefers to wheel and deal in smoke-filled backrooms rather than have an honest, open, and frank debate in the House chamber. That’s why his leadership team is abandoning him. His opponent, Steven Frias, has an extraordinary opportunity to challenge the Mattiello machine in this election cycle.

There are also the questions surrounding Mattiello’s association with infamous Rhode Island mobster and drug dealer Charles “The Ghost” Kennedy, as seen in the photo below. I am doing some research and will update as appropriate. What the hell was the Ghost doing hanging around with a young Mattiello?

I’ll find out.

Nicholas Mattiello, Charles "The Ghost" Kennedy
Speaker Mattiello (left), Charles The Ghost Kennedy (middle)

It’s time to get Mattiello and Raimondo out of the State House. They have abused the public trust for far too long. We need fresh new faces who are going to enact real change. We should not have lost the PawSox deal. We should be injecting the millions spent on advertising in Rhode Island small businesses – the backbone of the fledgling Rhode Island economy.

DCYF has been engrossed in turmoil for over two decades. I personally suffered. Tens of thousands of other children are suffering from their experiences. And thousands of other children and adolescents are facing untold adversity based on a system constantly in flux with no hope for meaningful service delivery enhancement within their DCYF tenures. Mattiello and Raimondo need to be extricated from their office and supplanted with competent officials. Let’s make 2018 a year of meaningful change.

For DCYF. For small business. And for you.

My endorsements will be released on Tuesday. Stay tuned, other big news is in the works.

Rhode Island, Election, 2018
Rhode Island Election 2018

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Ignoble Inferno: The Alahverdian Lawsuit

Nicholas Alahverdian had everything going for him — he was 14 years old, he was working for his state’s legislature, and he had aspirations to attend Harvard or Yale. Unfortunately, Rhode Island politics is a blood sport. Since he was in DCYF foster care due to his abusive parents, he also served as a lens through which he could share with lawmakers the direct impact the state had on its children and adolescents.

What Alahverdian found was a broken system immersed in disarray. As a result of his political activism, he made enemies amongst the bureaucrats in state agencies, the Family Court, and Governor Donald Carcieri himself. Alahverdian began to tell the members of the Senate and House what was happening in the infamous DCYF night-to-night program. He detailed torture and abuse. Alahverdian was later sent to facilities hundreds of miles from home where he could contact no one.

This powerful lawsuit is available as an ebook for the first time and is a preparatory document to Alahverdian’s official biography.