About: Nicholas Alahverdian is a victim of torture perpetrated upon him by group homes and shelters who contracted with the Rhode Island State Government to provide services for children in the care of the Department of Children Youth and Families. Nicholas simultaneously worked for the Rhode Island General Assembly as a legislative aide.
As a 14-year-old legislative aide, I was sodomized and raped by a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. That person now wields formidable power. In light of the recent facts illuminated by the sexual harassment perpetrated by Cale Keable upon Katie Kazarian, I felt prompted to do what I never thought I would: bring the facts of this vicious and embarrassing assault upon me to the public eye.
I was degraded and humiliated by a person in power — and this culture of corruption in Rhode Island politics needs to stop. Katie Kazarian is leading the charge in exposing the moral attrition at the State House, and for that she deserves the utmost praise. But for myself, I go on and tell my story to those whom will listen. The most deplorable action we can take to address these endemic issues is none at all. I will be releasing details of the rape upon my person after the election. That way, no one can say ‘Nicholas Alahverdian did this for political advantage.’
In accordance with the election on November 6, 2018 between Allan Fung and Gina Raimondo, Nicholas Alahverdian is releasing an infographic detailing the number of Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) foster child deaths under each of the past four Rhode Island governors. Those governors include Lincoln Almond (Republican), Donald Carcieri (Republican), Lincoln Chafee (Independent-turned-Democrat), and current Governor Gina M. Raimondo.
DCYF expert releases statement on foster child deaths during the first 3 years of the tenure of Governor Gina Raimondo
MORE CHILDREN IN DCYF CARE HAVE DIED UNDER SPEAKER MATTIELLO AND GOVERNOR RAIMONDO THAN ANY OTHER SPEAKER AND GOVERNOR COMBINED
Nicholas Alahverdian uncovers 1,450% increase in child deaths or near-deaths since Gina Raimondo was inaugurated
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 18, 2018
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (nicholasalahverdian.com) — Harvard scholar and DCYF reform activist Nicholas Alahverdian unleashed a fierce warning to the people of Rhode Island today after discovering that more children in the care of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) have been killed or nearly killed since Governor Gina Raimondo and Speaker Nicholas Mattiello have risen to power in state government.
“What we have found,” said Nicholas Alahverdian, “Through diving into everything from Providence Journal archives to FOIA requests, is that children in DCYF care are more at risk than ever. This is an election year and I take no ignominy in stating the obvious: Gina Raimondo and Nicholas Mattiello have not — though executive order or legislation — done anything to substantially curve this dangerous trend of dead or nearly-dead DCYF kids.”
“Gina Raimondo and Nicholas Mattiello have blood on their hands,” Nicholas Alahverdian continued. “One of the last times a child died in state care was the case of Thomas Wright, under the administration of former Governor Donald Carcieri. Coincidentally, I had the same social worker as little T.J. Wright — and while he was being killed in Woonsocket, I was being tortured and raped in Florida — all in the month of October 2004. Poor Patricia Chabot was so overburdened with a high rate of cases that she had one kid being tortured and raped and another ending up dead — all in one month. This practice continues unabated to this day under the Raimondo administration — except it is literally and exactly 1,450% worse.”
As the 2018 election draws near, it is important to highlight the records of the incumbents. “We have had over 30 deaths or near-deaths in the past 3 and a half years,” said Nicholas Alahverdian. “Gina Raimondo, in her ubiquitous blasé tone, has dismissed DCYF issues as ‘longstanding.’ While these issues are longstanding, these dead kids are 8 and 9 years old. They are not given a fair chance at life.”
Turning to the situation of Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Alahverdian was considerably infuriated: “Over 50% of the House Chamber supported an omnibus bill and individual bills to overhaul DCYF. Not one bill — bills which were introduced year after year — made it out of committee. Not one. Nicholas Mattiello’s legal counsel and members of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services worked to actively inhibit any legislation that would improve or overhaul DCYF. Vicariously, Nicholas Mattiello is jointly responsible for the deaths and abuse suffered by children in DCYF care.”
The study, conducted by Nicholas Alahverdian and his team of researchers, found that within the past three gubernatorial administrations, there has been a stark increase in DCYF child deaths since Raimondo became Governor. “In 2008, DCYF investigated reports of the death of a child in their care. In 2003, we saw the tragic death of T.J. Wright. Within a five year timespan, we had two investigations of DCYF-related deaths,” said Alahverdian. In the Chafee administration from 2011 to 2015, there were no child deaths. Yet under Gina Raimondo, we as a state have to take a seat and say to ourselves ‘within 4 years there have been over 30 deaths or near-deaths’”
“It’s unconscionable,” said Alahverdian. “We have dead Rhode Island kids while Raimondo mingles in glitzy ballrooms raising funds for her campaign — policies which, by practice, include the disregard of DCYF-related killings.”
Nicholas Alahverdian, a former legislative aide for the Rhode Island House of Representatives hired at the age of 14, has been fighting for DCYF reform since 2002. Alahverdian suffered torture, abuse, and negligence in the infamous night-to-night program at the same time he worked for the state government.
When legislators and the media began to act and report on the abuse Alahverdian was suffering, he was exiled by Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah and Governor Donald L. Carcieri to two facilities — Manatee Palms in Florida and Boys Town Residential Treatment Center in Nebraska — which were later closed by their own states for torture, abuse, and neglect. Thought that period of time, Alahverdian was allowed to contact no one at all — lawyers, the courts, DCYF social workers, the police.
Alahverdian later sued his abusers in federal court in Rhode Island, led an attempted state and federal legislative blitz to attempt to enhance DCYF policies and practices, and studied comparative literature at Harvard University.
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. Continue reading DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.
Following a meeting with the Governor’s Office, Nicholas Alahverdian will hold a brief press conference on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 3 p.m. at the State House Rotunda to discuss the details of his federal lawsuit against DCYF and take questions about his experiences of abuse and negligence, substantiated by state and federal authorities (see links to news stories), in Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Florida group homes and treatment facilities.
Nicholas Alahverdian was exiled from the State of Rhode Island by the Department of Children, Youth and Families after illuminating the deficiencies at facilities monitored by them to legislators of the Rhode Island General Assembly. At the time, he was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. When Nicholas was exiled, he began to be tortured in both facilities which had long records of violence and maltreatment against patients, with both facilities undergoing significant state investigations with courts issuing grand jury indictments and orders to halt admissions. Nevertheless, Alahverdian was banished to these facilities.
Nicholas Alahverdian was sent to one facility in Nebraska, the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center; and one in Florida, Manatee Palms Youth Services (owned by Premier Behavioral Solutions, a subsidiary of the nationally troubled Psychiatric Solutions, recently purchased by Universal Health Services). Both were shut down by their respective state regulatory agencies for violations of federal and state regulations, including abuse and negligence.
In Florida, Nicholas Alahverdian was raped by a staff member who admitted to the crime and was later imprisoned (see attached documents). Also, the for-profit Florida facility has been shut down in recent years for hiring convicted felons and retaining them, not providing sufficient staff, and hiring abusive people, most of whom were directly out of high school.
Alahverdian will also discuss legislation going before the House Judiciary Committee on April 12, 2011 to end out-of-state placements and enhance the Rhode Island Children’s Bill of Rights, sponsored by Rep. Michael Marcello and Rep. Bob DaSilva. There will be a large rally on Tuesday the 12th at 3 p.m. (press advisory to be sent later today/Monday) before the bills go before the House Judiciary Committee at the rise of the House (typically around 4:30).
WHO: NexusGovernment, Nicholas Alahverdian
WHAT: Press Conference on lawsuit, DCYF reform legislation
It’s hard to understand why my friend Nicholas Alahverdian’s story hasn’t resonated with more people and led to more needed changes. Perhaps it’s because he has been too much his own advocate, worked the Rhode Island State House too diligently, been too articulate in defining the state’s failures.
One thing is certain: What happened to Nicholas Alahverdian in the name of child protection should never happen to any kid ever. He was denied a substantial chunk of his childhood. He was put in night-to-night placement by the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families, a practice so hideously abusive and stifling that it would seem better fit to a Charles Dickens novel than to 21st century Rhode Island. Continue reading Nicholas Alahverdian | A hard lesson in what a state can do to a kid
By Walt Buteau
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Nicholas Alahverdian claims he was beaten everyday while he was in Department of Children, Youth and Families custody and now he is pushing for reform.
Alahverdian was a general assembly page at the age of 14 but one year later he was living in a series of DCYF funded group homes where he says the other kids used him as a punching bag.
Read the entire article: http://web.archive.org/web/20151226001548/http://wpri.com/2012/04/19/abuse-victim-fights-for-dcyf-changes/
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Nicholas Alahverdian was a 15-year-old foster child when he was sent from Rhode Island to live in facilities for troubled young people, first in Nebraska and later in Florida. According to lawsuits he filed, he was subjected to regular physical and emotional abuse.
Now 24, Alahverdian blames officials in Rhode Island for moving him hundreds of miles from his home, school and friends. The state is failing its foster children when it places them far from its oversight, he said.
“It’s an inhumane approach to a human problem,” Alahverdian told The Associated Press. “These are the most vulnerable people in Rhode Island. We have the ability to provide for them here. And we’re spending all this money to ship them across the country.”
Each year, Rhode Island sends dozens of children to facilities elsewhere, at a cost to taxpayers that has averaged $14 million over the past decade, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request. In fiscal year 2010, for instance, 117 foster children were placed out of state, most in neighboring Massachusetts but some in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
Rhode Island plans to spend $88 million this year on foster care programs.
Officials at the Department of Children, Youth and Families said Rhode Island has made great strides in reducing the number of children sent out of state. As of Aug. 1, there were 1,700 children in state custody. Fifty-four are in out-of-state facilities. That’s down sharply from just a few years ago, when more than 200 children were sent out of state. In fiscal year 2008, for instance, the state spent $19.8 million housing 231 children in 13 states.
In several cases, children were sent to facilities with troubling records of employee misconduct, abuse and even death.
The Stonington Institute in Connecticut came under fire in 2008 after teen boys were forcibly injected with medications designed to restrain them. In 2006, Connecticut officials temporarily halted new admissions at the facility after inspectors reported insufficient staffing and poor employee training. Yet Rhode Island sent children to the facility from 2007 to 2010.
Officials in Virginia this year temporarily halted admissions at the Pines Residential Treatment Center’s two facilities after reporting “significant problems” over several years, including the mishandling of a sexual abuse complaint. North Carolina removed many of its children from the Pines after a parent reported that their child had been sexually abused by two other residents. Rhode Island sent children to the Pines facilities in five of the past 10 years.
Two Texas facilities that have received Rhode Island children were part of a chain of treatment centers criticized for the deaths of five residents since 1988. In each case the children died after being restrained. In 2003, Texas investigators determined that a 17-year-old boy who asphyxiated at one of the company’s wilderness camps in 2002 after being restrained. The company later sold the facilities. Rhode Island sent children to the facilities from 2002-2005.
The officials who oversee Rhode Island’s foster care system said they only send children to facilities in other states as a last resort, when a child’s physical or mental health needs require treatment no facility within the state can provide.
“I would love to say that we would never need to rely on out-of-state placement,” said Kevin Aucoin, acting director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. “But I don’t think that’s realistic. There are children who come into our care with highly specialized treatment needs and we need to go outside the state to identify the programs best suited for them.”
Alahverdian said welfare officials told him he was being sent to out-of-state facilities because he suffered from bipolar disorder, which he denies. He believes he was sent to facilities in Nebraska and Florida because he spoke to state lawmakers about problems he experienced with the foster care system. When he was at those facilities, he said he rarely heard from the state officials charged with his well-being. Aucoin said caseworkers are required to visit Rhode Island children in out-of-state care at least every six months.
Aucoin noted that the overall number of children sent to institutions in other states – and the resulting cost to taxpayers – declined sharply in 2009 and 2010. And when children are placed elsewhere, Aucoin said most of them are sent to facilities in nearby Massachusetts.
Some lawmakers want to go further and prohibit the state from sending foster children out of the state at all. Rep. Roberto DaSilva, D-East Providence, introduced legislation this year that would bar the practice unless authorities can show it’s not possible to keep the child in Rhode Island. He proposed the legislation after meeting with Alahverdian.
“The amount of money we’re spending here is huge,” DaSilva said. “There are facilities here in Rhode Island that could provide these services. And who does the oversight on these out-of-state facilities? Are they being watched as closely as the ones right here?”
DaSilva’s bill didn’t get a vote, but he plans to try again next year.
Richard Wexler, executive director of the Alexandria, Va.-based National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said it’s common for states to use out-of-state facilities for foster care. His group issued a report last year that labeled Rhode Island’s foster care system one of the worst. Rhode Island officials remove children at almost double the average rate in other states, the report calculated.
“The root of the problem is that Rhode Island takes away too many kids in the first place,” he said. “The system is overloaded at every step, so the state feels it has no choice but to send these kids out of state. I believe that creates a second trauma for these kids who have already been removed from their families.”
Aucoin doesn’t disagree. He said DCYF is a few years into an effort to reduce the total number of children in state care. In 2007, there were more than 2,500 children in the state’s foster care system. This year there are 1,700.
“There was a culture shift in the agency to focus on community based interventions, family based interventions with the goal of decreasing the number of children coming into DCYF care,” Aucoin said. “It’s better for the child, and better for the family.”
Alahverdian said more must be done. He was placed in state custody because his parents struggled with alcoholism and were abusive, he said. He remained in state custody until he was nearly 18. This year he worked as a lobbyist at the Statehouse, trying to convince lawmakers to reform the state’s foster care system. He’s taking college courses and is considering law school, or a career as an advocate for children in the foster care system.
“A big part of me wants to solve this problem,” he said. “But I don’t know if Rhode Island wants to solve this problem.”