Rep. Sanchez introduces legislation
to bring accountability to DCYF


STATE HOUSE – Rep. Enrique Sanchez has introduced legislation (2023-H 6075)  that would establish a procedure for individuals to file informal complaints against the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

“I talk to parents in our community who are so frustrated by the lack of communication and accountability from DCYF,” Representative Sanchez (D-Dist. 9, Providence) said. “This is an agency with tremendous power that can really impact people’s lives. There needs to be better communication.”

DCYF is a state department responsible for supporting children and their families involved in child protection, behavioral health and juvenile justice. The agency has been in the spotlight in recent years for poor performance. Caseworkers say they are short-staffed and can’t keep up with the case load. Some parents and caregivers say the agency, with the power to take away their parental rights, does not communicate well enough and can disrespect parents working hard to retain custody.

DCYF has a formal complaints process, but many who have used it say it is lengthy and rarely yields results. The bill would create an informal complaints process which advocates hope would create more open, honesty communication between DCYF and the families it serves.

“I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be a parent doing your best to retain custody of your child and have DCYF not pick up the phone, not communicate with you,” Representative Sanchez said. “We need to try something new. These are deeply emotional, complicated issues. I’m hopeful a more informal process would yield better communication and better results.”