The Dream & Reality of Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian’s Dream

Jim Hickok and I sat in a dark diner in a lodge during a light snow, silently staring into our coffee and mulling over the recent midterm election. As Jim wasn’t from the Ocean State, I had to give him the lowdown on the ways of Rogue’s Island. In the smallest state, you had schemers and cleaners, aging old school dons and Italian grandmothers who still didn’t speak English. You had the different hills of the capital city, straight out of central casting, each with its distinct power structure — with some based in legitimate interests and others in so-called crime.

For two decades with a brief interruption, this capital city of this state called Rogue — the Island of Rogue — had an inspirational Mayor. Some say he was Jekyll, some say he was Hyde, but at one point or another, aren’t we all a little bit of both?

Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian’s dream

Jim worked as a stagecoach driver and had met some colorful characters out there on the high prairie and the frozen tundra. He was well known throughout the west as a gambler and actor. He had seen it all. Jim had many stories to tell and met people I could only dream of meeting. He had lived in places far and wide, and if there ever was a thing Jim Hickok knew how to do well, it was to put his finger on the pulse of a town and see what made its gears turn.

Jim sat back and stared at me with his icy eyes. “Back where I’m from we have a saying embossed on a plaque that we give to every incoming elected official, no matter their office,” he said. “It goes something like this. Oh, let me write it down… you’ll need it some day, Nicholas.”

Jim grabbed a napkin and pulled a fountain pen from his leather waistcoat, which seemed to have a pocket for something needed for any profession. This was *the* Jim Hickok after all.

He handed me the most luxuriously crisp parchment upon which he wrote:

“Leader of the people, come with humble heart, know there are few that can play your part. When you are faced with worry or woe, ensure you do right for friend or foe. Will you serve your fellow man? Remember the code taught since time began.”

After the passage, on that crisp beautiful parchment, old Jim Hickok wrote “To Nicholas Alahverdian, survivor of the Island of Rogue. May the eyes of God weep on that land until the corrupt scions and political lions are flooded out.”

“Island of Rogue,” I said. “Quite fitting.”

Nicholas Alahverdian Tortured by Rhode Island Government
Nicholas Alahverdian

Island of Rogue

“Son, don’t you even know your own history?” Jim asked, sounding slightly annoyed. “I’d hate to go back West and tell them about the fabled Nicholas Alahverdian, that old survivor, the one they called the storm, who everyone thought fought so hard yet had so little faith in himself, was yearning to learn but applying it to nothing, working for something but forgetting why he started fighting like a one-armed boxer in the first place.”

I stared into the black abyss of the coffee, trying to focus myself into oblivion. Here was old Jim Hickok, the legend. The lore surrounding this man haunted me for decades. Now he was insulting my performance. I didn’t even know anyone bought a ticket, let alone someone was watching the performance that was my broken, shattered life.

Hickok stood up from his chair, his heavy leather boots stomping on the creaky wooden floor and shaking the trinkets on the walls of the lodge.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Buddy Cianci, Vincent Cianci, Vincent A. Cianci Jr., Providence
Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr., host of WPRO’s The Buddy Cianci Show and former longtime Mayor of Providence, R.I.

He grabbed me by the lapels and shouted, “Besides the tigers that crouch and wait for your blood, why were you brought here? You’ve walked with great men, they’ve led you with the scepter and the pen. You betray the promise you made the day you left home. The promise you were meant to keep under every spire, roof, and dome.”

I felt sick and queasy and he tossed me about. Old Jim could easily fry me as he would a freshly caught trout.

Haunted by the past and fearful of the future

I stuttered and staggered, falling about like a bleeding hound. “Under the dome of which you speak on a hill called Smith, I shined a light on a war that people called a myth. The forests know, as do the mountains; nature is my silent witness that the blood spouted from my head like a million fountains. I was nearly killed, just another body for the counting. And then one winter night, a villianous trollop made everything worse, and forevermore they’ve left me with this curse.”

Hickok just stared at my discourse as if it floated in the air, something tangible, nearly palpable. His burly fists still clutched my lapels, like pearls clinging to shells.

Jim Hickok paused and released his grasp. “Nicholas Alahverdian, don’t you know why you survived so many blows? The curse of which you speak was a ticket to a life — without it, your existence would be terse. You were taught to travel, ramble, and roam, and never again will you be alone. You survived a treacherous scheme masquerading as a church, they bedeviled you from their lowly perch. As the wind came and went and blew you away, you survived yet another day. Do you remember your days in the Ivory Tower, your moments of enlightenment blooming like a flower? No more did you need a motley unattractive throng, no more did you require to sing the warrior’s song. You fought power and you demanded penance from a corrupt king, you made everything new — your life, once again, is in its morning.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Willow
© 2009-2018 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved

The Renaissance is a lie

Two men appeared, dressed in black. They held newspapers with headlines. Electoral victories for Nicholas Mattiello and Gina Raimondo. Rogue’s Island remains true to its name. Hickok grabbed the paper from his bodyguard and walked slowly back towards me. “You don’t want to be on this sinking ship,” he said, “that you can see through the nearly blinding brine. You would speak the truth and once again be treated like swine.”

I put on my Stetson and moved for the door. “Old Jim,” I said, “My thanks comes from my heart, indeed, it comes from its core.” I turned around and closed my eyes, the frost on my face felt like a welcome prize.

”Alahverdian!” he shouted, before I left. “Don’t ever think you’re ever bereft. Your fighting days are over, step away from the deaf and blind. Go forward with wisdom, and use your mind. Those rogues, Nick and Gina, this is their day, but know now and forever, they have a price to pay. Just like those past who ruled from under that dome, their corruption and treachery will soon be known. But don’t waste your time, it’s no longer your war, you’ve made your mark and it has been felt at the core.”

I looked down, my brow caked with sweat. I forgot about the Mayor, which I began to regret. “Old Jim,” I said, “One more thing. The Mayor brought more than anyone else could bring. To this Island of Rogues, he gave a city called Renaissance, his place in history firmly ensconced. To suffer and be exiled from my glorious city, doesn’t it cause you to have any pity?”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Rhode Island, Rotunda
Nicholas Alahverdian

“Nicholas,” he said, “in Renaissance, your skies were eerily overcast, and don’t you recall, the fiery blast? It’s not your home, you don’t belong, they tortured and beat you, and sung you death’s song. I can bring you back. I can let you see. But do you really want to engage in such stupidity?”

I shuffled my boots and emptied my brain. I thought of the strife, I thought of the pain. It was Jim, who reminded me of this toil, and at that second my blood started to boil.

“Old Jim,” I said, “It seems you’re right. There’s no point in returning to a land without light. They drained the sea when they exiled me, the first time, the second — there won’t be three.”

NIcholas Alahverdian in WPRI Providence Eyewitness News clip, leaving the State House
Nicholas Alahverdian in a Providence Eyewitness News clip, leaving the State House

Exit

Old Jim stood solid at the brass back door. He straightened his tie and tapped his cane on the floor. “Alahverdian,” said he, “you’ve finally made the best choice. There are causes and efforts more worthy of your voice.”

I turned around, and faced the cold. I knew in my heart the decision was bold. Chopping down the tree of knowledge, I thought of their hate. I then knew that this was my fate. I worked and toiled and made a pirogue, to sail forever away from the Island of Rogue.

Gina Raimondo DCYF Death Infographic

Nicholas Alahverdian, Gina Raimondo, DCYF
Nicholas Alahverdian Slams Gina Raimondo for DCYF Deaths

The Election

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.

Donald Carcieri, Nicholas Alahverdian
Former Governor Don Carcieri

Continue reading Gina Raimondo DCYF Death Infographic

Why I support Allan Fung for Governor

This year, Rhode Island is embroiled in an important race for governor. They really have only two choices: Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Gina Raimondo. Joe Trillo could very well be a Raimondo plant. He seems to have a personal vendetta against Allan Fung that transcends this election.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Gina Raimondo
Gina Raimondo — failing for four years © 2018 Nicholas Alahverdian

The failures of Gina Raimondo

Gina Raimondo has had an awful run over the past 3 and a half years. She is responsible for the disaster at the Department of Children, Youth and Families. There is now an active federal investigation and audit against the DCYF — again. She is responsible for the Unified Healthcare Infrastructure Project (UHIP) disaster. UHIP has now cost the state $660,000,000.00 due to the failures of Deloitte, the company brought in to build the IT behemoth.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Allan Fung
Nicholas Alahverdian

Under Gina Raimondo’s tenure, we have seen a 1,450% increase in child deaths or near deaths for children in DCYF care. This is unconscionable. We have also seen Gina hire away a Providence Journal reporter, Jennifer Bogdan, to work in the Governor’s press office. This is the one of the worst examples of political thievery I have seen in my 17 years in Rhode Island state politics. The governor hired away a reporter to stop reporting on the state-sanctioned tortured and killing of children. Think about that.

Gina Raimondo has brought the state to its knees. Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, makes things even worse. They both fail Rhode Islanders because of the UHIP fiasco, the DCYF deaths, the loss of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the distorted data in the state’s online transparency portal, and too many other errors to name.

Nicholas Alahverdian, State House
RI State House © 2017 Nicholas Alahverdian

The success of Mayor Allan Fung

Allan Fung, in contrast, presides over one of the top 50 cities in America. He is an honest, sincere mayor of the second largest city in Rhode Island. Fung listens to his constituents and hears what they have to say. Simply put, Fung will do the same thing in the Governor’s office. He will listen, weigh the options, and decide the best course of action.

With Gina Raimondo, we have seen inaction. We have seen policymaker after policymaker in her wretched and poorly-run departments depart in shame. We have seen unqualified and uncertified individuals performing tasks costing Rhode Island millions  — like law — when they do not have the necessary qualifications to do so. Gina is in this for herself and her future political career. Raimondo does not have the best interests of Rhode Islanders in her heart.

Gina Raimondo is a wealthy East Side limousine liberal. She is cut from the same cloth as those who speak endlessly about “working families” and supporting the average Rhode Islander. At the end of the day though, her security detail drives her back to her lush East Side home where she can live her life in peace and prosperity with her family while Rhode Islanders suffer and kids in DCYF care are tortured and killed.

Apparently caring about working Rhode Islanders only lasts until 5pm on a weekday.

Allan Fung will be the antithesis of Gina Raimondo. Dare I say he will be the anti-Gina Raimondo. He will bring back jobs, he will lower taxes, and he will protect kids in DCYF care. There is no question in this election — Gina Raimondo is inherently unfit to be governor due to the numerous disasters we’ve seen in four short years.

Rhode Islanders can be guaranteed that if Allan Fung is elected, from 2019 on we will see a Rhode Island with more possibilities. We will see an air of optimism and not despair. Allan will do his best to bring the spirit of dynamism back to the Ocean State — something we’ve sadly been long without.

Nicholas Alahverdian, DCYF
DCYF Headquarters © 2017 Nicholas Alahverdian

Not the Ol’ Boys Club anymore — Gina leads the “Troll Girls Club”

Gina Raimondo presides over a state in which the gears grind on political deals and an ol’ boys club culture. That has now turned into a troll girls club. I use the term ‘troll girls club’ not as a mark of disrespect, but because Gina is trolling Allan Fung. She refuses to debate him one-on-one without the distraction of Joe Trillo, the candidate without a chance. She is blasé at his suggestions for leadership tactics that will work. And she dismisses his common sense solutions to fix state departments.

Allan Fung, Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian supports Allan Fung for Governor

Rhode Island will thrive with Governor Fung

Rhode Island is lost in the woods. Gina Raimondo will continue to lead broken departments where kids are killed, DMV lines go out the door, and unqualified professionals make executive decisions.

I am confident that inept lifetime bureaucrats like Mike Burk and Kevin Aucoin will finally be shown the door at DCYF, ending their reign of terror once and for all. Allan Fung will audit and analyze each and every facet of DCYF to ensure that the agency is the epitome of what a child welfare system should be from when he is elected and into the future.

Allan Fung will provide real leadership from day one. He is a hands-on mayor and he will be a hands-on Governor. He will repair the Ocean State and give it what it needs — a boost in its economy and its self-esteem. With Allan at the helm, kids will be safer, jobs will increase, and more money will flow into the state than ever. He will be Rhode Island’s champion — and relentlessly fight for our families and children.

Allan will fight for you.


Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him by the Rhode Island government under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from New England that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood. Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.

The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The Providence Journal, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.

Nicholas Alahverdian uncovers 1,450% increase in child deaths or near-deaths since Gina Raimondo elected

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. 

Gina Raimondo
Gov. Gina Raimondo has turned a blind eye to the chaos at DCYF

The report is released by the Office of Nicholas Alahverdian in conjunction with a video detailing the failures of Raimondo and Mattiello which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiM09Hic0RI

“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.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

“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.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Nicholas Mattiello
Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the House

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.” 

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard
Harvard scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

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.” 

Mike Chippendale, Nicholas Alahverdian, Doreen Costa, DCYF
Rep Michael Chippendale, Lobbyist Nicholas Alahverdian, and Rep. Doreen Costa at the Rhode Island State House Press Conference on DCYF

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. 

###

Contact: Nicholas Alahverdian
+1 401 472 4955
nalahverdian@gmail.com
nicholasalahverdian.com

Resources: 

T.J. Wright Killing: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29263056/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/man-gets-life-fatal-beating-over-spilt-milk/#.W8fjzS2ZORs

Nicholas Alahverdian Biography: https://www.nicholasalahverdian.com/nicholas-alahverdian-biography/

Brief Nicholas Alahverdian biographical video (2011): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnYCsZg-FdY

2011 WPRI 12 Story on Nicholas Alahverdian story and legislation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTufox9v7to

2002 Providence Journal Column by Bob Kerr- https://www.nicholasalahverdian.com/posts/posts-14611102483-a-survivor-tells-the-story-of-kid-dumping/ 

2011 Providence Journal Column by Bob Kerr- https://www.nicholasalahverdian.com/nicholas-alahverdian/nicholas-alahverdian-he-knows-the-ri-system-inside-and-out/

Providence Journal op-ed 2017 – http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/20170407/nicholas-alahverdian-dcyf-workers-need-help-to-protect-children

Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

It’s that time again. And Gina Raimondo’s days before losing the election are numbered.

The signs and pins come out.

Your door is knocked upon by seemingly friendly and overexcited volunteers.

You’re caught off guard by the random candidates you’ve seen on tv standing on line at Dunkin’ Donuts (we can still call it that for the time being, right?).

It’s election season. Continue reading Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

Nicholas Alahverdian legislation would satisfy federal concerns

Continue reading Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.

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

By Nicholas Alahverdian
nicholasalahverdian.com

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.

The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard
Harvard scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

From the archive: Nicholas Alahverdian twice tried his hand at podcasting. His first attempt – a 2011 podcast from NexusGovernment on legislative issues facing the people of . Continue reading The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian | Testimony on House Bill 5855

By Nicholas Alahverdian

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss this important legislation that will furnish to the honorable House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island crucial oversight of the agency that is charged with protecting our state’s most vulnerable children, the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Rhode Island, State House

I want to begin my brief remarks by paying tribute to the DCYF social workers, who, in the face of being overburdened with excessive cases and long hours, have acted with incredible strength and determination. My message to them: this legislation will compel the Department to treat you more fairly, give you the resources that you need to protect children, and keep alive the dreams of those you honorably serve.

Meanwhile, even as we speak, children are victimized in DCYF group homes, foster homes, and shelters. Not unlike the exportation of commodities, children, like products, are exiled to for- profit, out-of-state facilities that have extensive histories of abuse and neglect.

This brief story of mine is just one of many, however, I would ask that this honorable committee consider it among the hundreds of horror stories that we have all heard over the years. It actually began happily in 2002 in the grand chamber just outside this room. I was merely a high school freshman, working for the honorable House of Representatives as a page, hired first by Sen. Lanzi while she honorably served in the House, and then in 2003 by Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who was Chairman of the House Finance Committee at the time. Needless to say, my mother was not as excited as I, most aptly characterized by the fact that she refused to purchase the blue blazer required for all pages, and instead, decided to purchase a case of white Zinfandel to cater to her alcoholism. In the end, it was a state rep who graciously provided to me the blazer.

Yet I involved myself in DCYF because I had finally come to the determination that my mother was inept, negligent, manipulative, and not unlike a bad role model. In short, she could no longer provide the necessary parental care.

This decision later led to my devastating detriment. In the care of the department, one abusive situation morphed into several thousand spanning nearly three years. I was placed in numerous shelters in DCYF’s night-to-night program. Often, I was not provided with meals due to the lack of communication between shelter employees and DCYF staff concerning the allocation of responsibilities.

I spent my days here at the state house and my nights fighting for a bed, looking for food, trying to make sure my belongings weren’t stolen. Most of all, I had to fear constant physical assaults and dangerous situations. The bruises, lacerations, and other visible injuries were noticed by concerned members of the honorable chamber to my left. There were many breathtakingly compassionate acts of kindness by representatives of that honorable chamber who refused to see me go hungry, who refused to let the bruises and cuts from the abuse go unnoticed, and who refused to let my voice be unheard. These representatives were my lifeline, and to them, I am eternally indebted.

As I tendered my resignation as an employee of the RI House of Representatives nearly a decade ago, at the age of 15, I began to lobby for fair treatment for individuals in state care. The media attention, calls from the legislators, and pressure from the Office of the Child Advocate all motivated DCYF to rid themselves of a publicity threat. I engaged in hostile conflicts with DCYF administration due to violations of basic constitutional rights, the inability to remain in one school district, the constant beatings inflicted upon me and corroborated by medical records, the humiliating practice of night-to-night placement, and the discouragement of civic participation. The department is fundamentally flawed, not only for the reasons heretofore stated, but for the children that have died in their care, for the assaults, beatings, and rapes that continue to this very day, and for the inability of the department to provide a free and appropriate education in accordance with state law.

Additionally, It is truly tragic to think that an employee of DCYF would sit in the sanctified office of the majority whip and attempt to illicitly coerce a state official to admonish a young legislative aide that his presence at the state house is unwelcome and his advocacy for DCYF reform is hindering the agency’s ability to provide an appropriate placement free of abuse and negligence. They may have won battles early on, but the war is still waging.

Consequently, I was sent to two different states and placed in inappropriately restrictive facilities where contact with the outside world was prohibited and the infrastructure and mentality of the population was tantamount to a maximum security prison. Staff and youth formed rival gangs. I was beaten nearly every hour of every day. A staff person admitted to raping me in Florida.
Both facilities were closed by their states before and after my placement in those facilities for the rampant abuse and negligence that ensued on a daily basis. And, of most concern to the taxpayer, the State of RI expended over a quarter of a million dollars on this corrupt, for-profit corporation that cut staff and services, increased the population, reaped in the profits, and sipped martinis and watched the sun rise as the children they were responsible for wept from the pain of the punch and the constant, piercing screaming that ensued as a result of the unmanageable population juxtaposed with assaultive, unprofessional, ill-equipped staff.

Furthermore, each request to communicate with the outside world was denied. Contact was prohibited even with lawfully entitled agencies with whom children are always guaranteed contact: the Office of the Child Advocate, the Court Appointed Special Advocate, law enforcement, and the Courts.

According to court records, DCYF and the RI Family Court were aware that the abuse was ensuing in both Nebraska and Florida and they left me there, even after my social worker demanded that I be removed from this corner of the earth comparable only to my nightmarish imagined description of hell’s hottest fire.

In the face of seemingly innumerable decades of the State’s condemnation, DCYF has monotonously issued trumped-up news releases, exaggerated plans, and arbitrary reports, but no amount of bureaucratic paperwork that this entity can issue will stop the horrific abuse and negligence that kids experience at the hands of unqualified, untrained employees, many of whom have criminal records.

DCYF has proven that they consistently fail to manage themselves and that theirs is a fundamentally flawed department. DCYF’s past four directors have not been innovative at all. DCYF has unceasingly demonstrated its inability to keep kids safe. I will never, ever be able to experience childhood or adolescence; and the same goes for countless of Rhode Island citizens. Today, I stand strong. I am a student at Harvard University. I have started an effective non-profit advocacy organization. My hope is that each and every child will be able to have the same chance for self-determined success. This legislation is conducive to ensuring that same chance of success for every young Rhode Islander.

As a young and zealous high school student, I walked through the halls of the Rhode Island State House. I saw passionate lawmakers and fervent activists push for what they believed in. I saw heated debates and ceremonies of recognition. I have now returned to the State House nearly a decade later, where the impassioned debate continues. There are new issues and new leaders. But one issue still remains, and we can unanimously agree that it must be addressed – child abuse. This is the year that it stops. NexusGovernment is on the front lines in the battle against child abuse and neglect.

Over the past few weeks, I have spoken with many Rhode Islanders. They have told me about raising their children in poverty. They have told me about losing their jobs and not being able to take care of their families. They speak of witnessing youth in DCYF care being deprived of education, suffering hunger, and lacking medical care. They feel helpless when they hear of children being abused by careless, untrained employees. I’ve heard the cries for justice, and I’ve seen the tears fall for the terror they witness. We need your support to confront these misdeeds and save these kids.I grew up in Rhode Island, where our motto, “hope,” is engrained in our state flag. We have never lost that hope since Roger Williams first established this great state in 1636 after being banished by the Massachusetts Bay Colonists.

As a young man, I saw resilient Rhode Islanders every day. Rhode Islanders who faced hardship and poverty. I know many Rhode Islanders are feeling that way today. I know that feeling; I lived it. We know that our children deserve an education because they are dreamers. They have a bright future. We need to tackle those who abuse our most vulnerable children with the taxpayer dollar in hand. We need to encourage their dreams and aspirations. These children have never asked for more than to not be abused. Almost a decade ago, I fought relentlessly against those who were willing to sit back and let the abuse and neglect run its course.

Now, I have returned. This time, I have your support. Rhode Islanders have never lost hope. We have proved that hope is always necessary to get us through every fight. We will take back our state – and our children. This is our state. Roger Williams created it and the responsibility is ours to kindle the flame of hope that drove him to establish this marvelous home of ours. Together we can prevent that flame from being extinguished – and extend that hope to every child in our great, resilient state. We will stand courageously to protect our children. I promise you wholeheartedly that should this legislation pass, together, we will give them hope.

HEARING ON H5855 – CREATING THE RHODE ISLAND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES EMERGENCY OVERSIGHT COMMISSION ON THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES given by Nicholas Alahverdian on March 30, 2011 at the Rhode Island State House, Providence, Rhode Island.

Nicholas Alahverdian and Bob DaSilva – A winning team for DCYF reform

Nicholas Alahverdian, Bob DaSilva, Roberto DaSilva
Former Rep. Bob DaSilva and Nicholas Alahverdian

In 2010, RI Representative Bob DaSilva, current Pawtucket Police Captain and East Providence Mayoral candidate, 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.