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Child Welfare
Stephanie Terry, Associate Director

Child Welfare within the Department of Children, Youth and Families consists of several major areas, including:

The goal of Child Welfare is to promote, safeguard and protect the overall well-being of children and families, to intervene on behalf of children who have been abused or neglected, and to work with children and families to assure that every child has a permanent, safe, and nurturing environment in which to achieve their maximum potential.

Child Protective Services

The Division of Child Protective Services is comprised of Child Protective Investigations and Screening/ Intake. Child Protection Investigations consists of twelve (12) units of Child Protective Investigators who specialize in the investigation of child abuse and neglect cases. This program operates 24 hours a-day, 7 days-a-week and responds to allegations of child abuse or neglect state-wide. During the course of an investigation, Child Protective Investigators determine if there is a preponderance of evidence that a child has been abused or neglected and if so, what actions are necessary to protect the child from further harm. If, upon completion of the investigation, a preponderance of evidence indicates that a child has been abused/neglected, then the case is "Indicated" (substantiated). If a child is deemed to be in imminent risk of harm, s/he can be removed from the home and placed in the care of the State by the Child Protective Investigator (CPI) for a period of forty-eight (48) hours. This "hold" allows the investigator the opportunity to investigate further and meet with the Department's legal counsel to prepare the necessary petitions for presentation to the Rhode Island Family Court. Screening/Intake consists of five (5) casework units which handle the intake of all other non-child abuse/neglect cases to the Department as well as reviewing all indicated Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations.

If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, report it immediately to DCYF. As a matter of fact, the law requires that you do so within 24 hours. The Child Abuse Hotline, (1-800-742-4453), is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by professional Child Protective Investigators.



Assists families who contact DCYF for help or who are referred by the courts.  A trained staff member makes an assessment of the family's strengths and needs and arranges for the appropriate services. For more information, call (401) 528-3593. 

Policy 100.0040 - Child Support Enforcement for Children in DCYF Care.

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Family Services

Family Service Units (FSU) provide ongoing social services and case management to children and families who have become involved with the Department due to abuse, neglect, or dependency, as well as children who are in need of mental health services. These services are organized into four regional offices throughout the state. The regions are as follows:

There are 4 Regions of Family Services Units:
Region 1 - City of Providence located at
                101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903
                Phone: (401) 528-3502

Region 2 - Eastbay - East Providence to Newport located at:
                230 Wood Street, Bristol, RI 02809
                Phone: (401) 254-7000

Region 3 - Kent and Washington Counties located at:
                4808 Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI 02879
                Phone: (401) 792-5000

Region 4 - North and Northwestern Rhode Island located at:
                101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903
                Phone: : (401) 528-3502

Family Services social workers work closely with children and families with a goal of maintaining an intact family through supportive services. If that is not possible, our goal is the timely reunfication of families, when it is safe and appropriate to do so. If renification cannot be achieved within a year to a year and a half, the social worker will explore adoption of the child into a safe and loving home. Most children are reunited with their parent(s) after services have been provided and the family has attained a higher level of functioning.

It is the goal of Child Welfare Services to assure the safety, permanance and well being of every child who becomes involved with the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children

The ICPC is an ageement between and among all the states for the transfer of a child between states, if that is determined to be in the best interest of the child. For example, if a child is in the custody of another state but has a relative in Rhode Island willing to care for him/her, then the other state will send the child to the relative in RI and DCYF social workers will supervise the placement. Likewise, if a child is in the custody of the state of Rhode Island and can go to a relative in another state, that state's child welfare agency will supervise the placement on behalf of Rhode Island.

Adoption Services Unit

The Adoption Services Unit is responsible for the adoption subsidies of approximately 2,500 children. These subsidies are reviewed annually and any necessary changes are made to the subsidy agreement. This unit also provides short term services to adoptive families after the adoption is finalized and they also refer adoptive families to appropriate service providers in the community. This unit also responds to inquiries from adult adoptees and provides them with certain adoption information, in accordance with Rhode Island Law.


Child Abuse Hotline Number:
1 (800) RI-CHILD
1 (800) 742-4453

Rhode Island Coat of Arms A Rhode Island

Questions or Comments?    Please e-mail Webmaster  
DCYF, 101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903-3716  **(401) 528-3502
Report child abuse or neglect.  Call the Hotline at 1-800-RI-CHILD   (1-800-742-4453)

     All content © 2006 DCYF -- Last modified: Mar 23, 2012