Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 05-16-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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10 OPINION MAY 16-22, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION The state's Child Advocate has released a series of reports over the last two years documenting 11 child fatalities and six near-fatalities due to abuse and neglect. Apparently, there are 14 additional cases of child fatalities or near-fatalities that are under review and that have yet to be released in a report. While rhetoric abounds about how impor- tant children are and how they have to be protected, the General Assembly has actually reduced funding for community-based pro- grams. In order to gain a per- spective, I turned to Mike Reis, a Christian brother, who founded Tide Family Services 35 years ago. This agency has as its motto that it will never give up on a kid – never! He is extremely well versed in what it takes to help chil- dren out of the chaos far too many of them face. His program has had great success. He is now a lob- byist and recently testified again in front of the Senate Committee on Finance. He insisted that funds must be restored to the R.I. Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). The funds are so inadequate now that chil- dren are dying and their very lives are at risk. Brother Michael first points to the need for a robust array of community- based services to provide needed support for fami- lies. When a child is at risk, not only should the child be in a safe and nurturing environment, but also counseling, child- rearing skills, and other services are necessary for the family to welcome back the child removed from the home. Community behav- ioral health services is a critical component. These families are oftentimes living in poverty, dealing with food and housing insecurity, and have had high rates of trauma and a lack of a stable caregiver. Monitoring the transi- tion is also crucial. Service providers have to be coordinated among them- selves in order to provide a continuum of services for the child and fam- ily. Brother Michael also noted in his testimony before the Senate commit- tee that there is a cost to hiring a skilled workforce that is able to intervene effectively with high-risk families. A team approach, therefore, is necessary with the service provider(s) in the community working hand and hand with skilled social workers employed by DCYF. The bottom line is that DCYF needs to be prop- erly funded. Staffers and the community-based pro- grams supported by DCYF are tasked with the job of caring for Rhode Island's most vulnerable children. Legislators have to put their money where their mouths are. Priorities have to shift. Too much money is spent on Smith Hill for self- dealing with political lackeys getting jobs, and pet projects being funded with legislators presenting checks to organizations in order to assist their reelec- tion. A thorough review of tax breaks for large corporations needs re- evaluation. How likely, for example, is it that General Dynamics would move out of Quonset Point after its construction investment to date? The many millions of dollars should be redi- rected and put to work to save children. Anyone who reads this article and who considers himself/herself a pro-life voter should take this opportunity to be pro- life for these vulnerable children and call your legislator to insist on more community-based funding and attendant services. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Funding DCYF is life and death matter It certainly was very good news for Rhode Islanders last week when the semi-annual revenue estimates showed the state with an extra $135 million to put into next year's budget. Some of the money ($75 million) is more for state coffers this fiscal year (ending June 30), and part of it ($59.4 million) is expected next year, according to The Providence Journal. Sadly, all of those dol- lars will be easily swallowed up in spending. The good news? The new-found funds allow the second year of cuts to the hated auto tax, cuts credited to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, so we can be grateful for that. Keeping that cut – keeping our money from government hands – will get more difficult each year. I had to chuckle when it was reported that about $28 million of next year's boost in revenue is tied to the fed- eral tax cuts across the U.S., courtesy of Republicans. "On Thursday," the Journal wrote, "she (Gov. Gina Raimondo) declined to comment on the tax cut's impact." In other words, President Trump and GOP Congressional leaders shouldn't expect a thank you note from Raimondo for the improving economy anytime soon. In fact, her campaign will just keep spew- ing her anti-Trump venom at Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, her assumed GOP opponent. Here's the Raimondo cam- paign's Jan. 30 installment: "We need to be prepared to fight back whenever Republicans like Trump and Fung start peddling fear and hatred in Rhode Island." Honestly, I wonder if they know how ridiculous they sound? One of the budget "fixes" that might come with our new- found wealth is stopping (for this year anyway) the "sweep" of money collected in other places to patch budget holes. Earlier this year there was an outcry over the state's collect- ing 911 emergency system fees for improvements there, but blowing the money someplace else instead. This mini-gusher gave high hopes to our leaders last weekend, but Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision sent them into Joyland! The Court voted to allow sports betting, something state leaders have been counting on. Honestly, I give them credit for getting ahead of that with Twin River and other partners, even if the planning was born of the state's financial desperation. It should be pointed out, if only to fluster the Democrats' and progressives' spending junkies, that the 6-3 vote was carried by the Court's conser- vative justices (the five appoint- ed by evil Republicans, along with Justice Kagan), in a case brought by former GOP Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Once again, there will be no thank you note. For Rhode Island, it's money, Money, MONEY! How much? It's hard to know. But Raimondo esti- mated in January sports bet- ting will bring in around $28 million in the fiscal year begin- ning July 1. It could grow from there. The plan is to operate a sports book out of Twin River's casinos in Lincoln – and soon, Tiverton, probably by the fall. How long will it take to move sports betting online? Not long. Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported that "industry consultant Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC found that total annual revenue from sports betting at casinos and race- tracks in all 50 states would amount to $7.1 billion, where- as adding online wagers would more than double the annual revenue to about $16 billion." In a world where lazy peo- ple order paper towels from Amazon, and states are search- ing between the sofa cushions for revenue, how long will it take for gambling to be on your phones? You have to ask? If you are anti-gaming, and think you'll have a say in this, think again. The state has decided that your votes allow- ing table games a few years ago covered sports betting. So that's that. Personally, I'm not anti- gaming, though I know it's a vice that can harm marriages, families and businesses. I take comfort in the fact that, for those without addiction, all betting remains a voluntary tax. Like alcohol, cigarettes, casinos or the lottery – and soon enough, sports betting and marijuana – nobody forces you to take part. Spend wisely. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze State is counting on you to deliver its new jackpot From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally owned and operated group of free weekly newspa- pers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 60,000+ copies are distributed to retailers, banks, offices, and restaurants and other busy spots. Circulation is audited by the Circulation Verification Council of St. Louis, Mo. and has earned its "Gold Standard Award." OUR MISSION It is the Mission of The Valley Breeze to facilitate a positive sense of community among the res- idents of Northern Rhode Island by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and to provide information of local events and neighbors. It is our further Mission to provide the highest quality advertising at the lowest possible cost to retailers, professionals, tradespersons, and other service providers in order to enhance the economic well-being of our community. Thomas V. Ward, Publisher James Quinn, Deputy Publisher Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor Doug Fabian, General Sales Manager Barbara Phinney, Controller Founded in 1956 by The Burgess Family Volume XX, Number 42 May 16, 2018 @ Breeze THE NORTH PROVIDENCE

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