As R.I. child-service networks’ costs mount, DCYF intervenes

Source: Lynn Arditi, Providence Journal, July 10, 2014

The two nonprofit networks that provide services to close to 2,000 children in state care ended the fiscal year on June 30 with millions of dollars in cost overruns, throwing into limbo a system that was supposed to save money and improve services. The state Department of Children, Youth and Families notified its service providers that as of July 1 the networks would no longer be responsible for the agency’s residential and community-based programs, pending a renegotiation of their contracts…… The intervention follows mounting fiscal problems at the two nonprofit networks — Ocean State Network for Children and Families and the Rhode Island Care Management Network — which signed three-year agreements with the DCYF in 2012 projected to cost a total of $107 million. The networks — which have gone back to state lawmakers each of the last two fiscal years asking for additional money to cover budget shortfalls — are now entering the third and final year of their contracts having spent about $145.5 million, according to figures confirmed by the governor’s office….He chided the networks for what he described as inflated salaries of administrators such as Margaret Holland McDuff, chief executive officer of Family Service of Rhode Island and head of the Ocean State Network. McDuff is paid salary and benefits of about $266,000 a year, of which about $87,600 is paid by the Ocean State Network, according to the network’s contract with DCYF….