RI, city settle with feds over disabled rights - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

RI, city settle with feds over disabled rights

Posted: Updated:
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. -

A landmark settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice will mean new choices and new freedoms for Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities.

People like Steven Porcelli.

"It's good. Not only for me, but for all my friends as well. We all have desires and dreams that we want to do," Porcelli said.

Porcelli has worked at a North Providence company called Training Through Placement, or TTP, for the past 30 years.

A federal investigation found TTP employees did menial work in a sheltered workshop for as little as 14 cents an hour, violating their civil rights.

"Steven's story is one that Rhode Islanders should feel sad about. It's also one they should feel angry about, because these people were robbed of years of productivity, learning and contributing to their communities," said Eve Hill of the DOJ.

The problems extended beyond TTP to the Birch Vocational School in Providence, inside Mount Pleasant High School.

Investigators found students with disabilities did the same kind of menial work in a segregated workshop, also for little or no pay. After they graduated, most were sent directly to work at TTP.

"The Birch Vocational Program was essentially a feeder to TTP. A direct pipeline," Hill said.

Providence school superintendent Susan Lusi admitted that the district failed some of its students who needed the most help.

"It's a lack of oversight and systems failure on multiple levels," Lusi said. "We failed to keep up with the change in practice and expectations."

Earlier this year, the NBC 10 I-Team first revealed federal investigations of three similar facilities: the Fogarty Center, COVE Inc., and the Trudeau Center. The results of those investigations have yet to be revealed.

The program at Birch Vocational School has been shut down.

  • NBC 10 I-Team

  • Fraud and Waste Hot Line

    Trust the NBC 10 I-Team to uncover waste and fraud in Southern New England.

    Have a story the NBC 10 I-Team needs to know about?

    Call the I-Team Fraud and Waste Hotline at 401-455-9123 or e-mail iteam@wjar.com.

    About the I-Team

    NBC 10's I-Team was the first investigative unit in Rhode Island.

    Formed in 1979 by I-Team reporters Jim Taricani and Gary Scurka, the I-Team has produced award-winning investigations into organized crime, public corruption and social issues ranging from child abuse to battered women.

  • The I-TeamMore>>

  • Katie Davis

    Katie Davis

    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
    Katie Davis is an I-Team reporter at NBC 10. She joined the team in January 2010 and is excited to live and work in New England.
  • Parker Gavigan

    Parker Gavigan

    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
    Parker Gavigan is an Associated Press award-winning journalist, and was named to the NBC 10 I-Team in January 2013. Parker digs deeper to get the answers that matter to you.
Powered by WorldNow

23 Kenney Drive
Cranston, R.I., 02920

Telephone: 401.455.9100
Fax: 401.455.9140
Email: news@wjar.com

Can't find something?

NBC 10 Outerwear Provided by:

NBC 10 Media Relations
Provided by:

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.