In 2010, former RI State Representative and current East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, introduced legislation that would make it nearly impossible for the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to ship children and adolescents in state care to out-of-state residential treatment facilities far from home and their families and friends.
Representative DaSilva was inspired to introduce the legislation by torture victim Nicholas Alahverdian, a political activist, whistleblower, and former House of Representatives employee who has been the subject of extensive news coverage including several columns by Bob Kerr, formerly of The Providence Journal.
Nicholas Alahverdian suffered torture, abuse, and neglect in Florida and Nebraska when he was sent there by DCYF after his political activism and employment with the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 2002-2003. Nicholas Alahverdian later formed a nonprofit to advocate for legislative changes to ensure that children in DCYF care are kept safe.
Representative DaSilva said in a press release that Rhode Island has numerous resources and services to provide children and adolescents with the treatment they need in Rhode Island. Rep DaSilva noted his concern about the welfare of children and adolescents in DCYF care.
After Nicholas Alahverdian teamed up with Bob DaSilva, out-of-state placements drastically decreased and DCYF has shifted toward an emphasis on home-based care as opposed to the arbitrary institutionalization that was heavily relied upon in the past.