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Nicholas Edward Alahverdian

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Nicholas Alahverdian (born July 11, 1987) is an American writer, lobbyist, and political activist. He is a former Rhode Island General Assembly legislative aide and an orphan who grew up in the care of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. He was featured in an Associated Press article appearing in multiple newspapers detailing the millions of dollars spent on exporting foster children out of Rhode Island.[1][2] The story was featured on the cover of The Newport Daily News.

Early life

Heritage and youth

Alahverdian was born on July 11, 1987, at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest child of Jack Hagop Alahverdian and Diana Lynn Alahverdian (née DeFilippo).[3] His paternal great-grandparents, Hagop and Agavne (Agnes) Alahverdian, were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The Alahverdians immigrated to the United States (with sons Harry and Avedise and daughter Lucy[4]) in 1923 after escaping to Alexandria, Egypt to avoid persecution and murder by the Ottoman Turks. Once in the United States, they were sponsored by Gasper Krikorian, a U.S. citizen, along with another family that survived the Genocide.[5] Alahverdian's great-uncle, Harry Alahverdian, served in the United States Navy from 1943 until 1946 on the USS New Jersey (BB-62) during World War II.[5] Hagop later opened a barber shop at 17 Douglas Avenue in Providence.[5]

Adolescence

Alahverdian, at age 12, became an orphan and was placed in various group homes and nightly shelters.[6] It was in these shelters that he experienced significant abuse and neglect that continued while he was employed by the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Following the inquiries of legislators and his own activism and lobbying efforts, he was later sent out of state where his communication with the outside world was restricted.[7]

File:Nicholas Alahverdian.jpg

In 2010, Alahverdian filed Alahverdian v. Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, et al in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.[8] Alahverdian and the defendants, including the state, reached a settlement in August 2013.[9]

Early career

Alahverdian worked for an NBC News affiliate as an assignment editor and marketing assistant.[10] He also served on the board of advisors for the Rhode Island Disability Law Center.[10] Alahverdian also worked for the Howard R. Swearer Center at Brown University, participating in and judging debate competitions for the Rhode Island Urban Debate League. He also worked for the YMCA of Greater Providence.[10]

Harvard University

Alahverdian attended Harvard University where he studied under renowned professors John Hamilton and Thomas Underwood. He concentrated in comparative literature. Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The New York Times best-seller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, provided the initial funding for Alahverdian to attend Harvard.[11]

Lobbying

File:Bob flanders nick alahverdian.jpg

Alahverdian, following his employment as a legislative aide, became executive director of the Youth Government Agency in 2002. This entity was the predecessor to NexusGovernment.[12] The purpose of NexusGovernment as a nonprofit lobbying firm was to advocate for social justice legislation.[13]

File:Nicholas Alahverdian and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.jpg

In 2010, Alahverdian again began to actively lobby for an overhaul of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families. Several bills were introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly to reform departmental culture and practices, including one that created an oversight commission[14] and another that stopped out of state placements.[15]

Rhode Island State Representative and Pawtucket Police Department Lieutenant Roberto DaSilva, a Democrat, appeared at a press conference with Alahverdian in 2010 to announce the legislation.[16] In September 2012, Republican State Representatives Doreen Costa and Michael Chippendale met the press to discuss the 2013 legislative initiatives on behalf of Alahverdian.[17]

Sylvia Plath Book

Alahverdian is currently writing a book about poet and author Sylvia Plath.[18] He conducted research at the Plath archive at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and also conducted several interviews with Lucas Myers, who befriended Plath and Ted Hughes at Cambridge University.[19]

Lawsuit

Alahverdian sued the State of Rhode Island[20][21] among others including former Governor Donald Carcieri, the State of Nebraska, and the State of Florida due to documented[22] serious abuse and negligence that occurred in state-owned and out-of-state facilities. The case is in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. and alleges a wide array of charges involving physical[21] and sexual abuse, the prevention of attending school, and being sent to out of state facilities where he was allowed to contact no one.

Both facilities, Manatee Palms Youth Services (part of the Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. chain) and Boys Town Residential Treatment Center, were later closed[21] by their respective states[23][24] for serious abuse and neglect.

The lawsuit claims[21] that state senators and representatives (including the man who hired Alahverdian, Gordon D. Fox, now Speaker of the House) discovered the abuse when Alahverdian worked at the Rhode Island State House, but was sent out of state once those legislators began to take action against the Department.

In June 2011, US District Judge John J. McConnell held the first conference in the case.[25]

In September 2012, former State Representative and East Providence City Councillor Brian G. Coogan (D-East Providence) appeared live on the Buddy Cianci Show on Newstalk 630 WPRO and reported[26] that he was one of the lawmakers that initially discovered the abuse. Alahverdian was also sent a $206,000.00 lien[27] for "medical expenses" from the State of Rhode Island, claiming that he owed that money should any settlement be reached.

Alahverdian was represented by Providence attorney and Rhode Island Republican party leader Matthew L. Fabisch.[28] The case[29] was settled in August 2013.[30]

Alahverdian's lobbying efforts coincided with the lawsuit, aiming to improve the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. In June 2013, a child's arm was broken at DCYF facility Harmony Hill School[31] and a toddler in foster care was found dead.[32] Following these incidents, The Providence Phoenix asserted that those in power in Rhode Island "should listen to what Nicholas Alahverdian has to say" so that foster care abuse and deaths can be prevented.[33]

The case was formally closed in late 2013. The settlement consisted of a $209,000 waiver of a lien.[34] There is one defendant left in the suit, Jammat Housing and Community Development Corporation, and the federal judge is currently considering holding them in default.[35]

References

  1. Klepper, David (14 August 2011). "RI pays millions to send foster kids out of state". The New Haven Register. http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20110814/former-foster-child-says-rhode-island-failed-him-and-others. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. Klepper, David (14 August 2011). "RI pays millions to send foster kids out of state". Erie Times-News. http://www.goerie.com/article/20110814/APN/1108140658. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  3. "Providence Records - Births". The Providence Journal. 29 July 2013. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/projo/access/600975011.html?dids=600975011:600975011&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jul+29%2C+1987&author=&pub=The+Providence+Journal&desc=PROVIDENCE+RECORDS+Births&pqatl=google. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  4. "Avedise E. Alahverdian". The Providence Journal. 9 February 1995. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/projo/access/572829501.html?dids=572829501:572829501&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Feb+09%2C+1995&author=&pub=The+Providence+Journal&desc=DEATHS+REPORTED&pqatl=google. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Karentz, Varoujan (2004). Mitchnapert the Citadel: A History of Armenians in Rhode Island. Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse. p. 12. ISBN 0-595-30662-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=pu1lPgv_soYC&pg=PA12&dq=Alahverdian&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zNyuUYjGLIrp0AGMnoGIBg&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBQ. 
  6. Kerr, Bob (24 November 2002). "A survivor tells the story of kid dumping". The Providence Journal. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/projo/access/245699021.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Nov+24%2C+2002&author=Bob+Kerr&pub=The+Providence+Journal&edition=&startpage=C.01&desc=A+survivor+tells+the+story+of+kid+dumping. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  7. Heller, Mathias (9 February 2012). "Legislation spotlights domestic abuse". The Brown Daily Herald. http://www.browndailyherald.com/2012/02/09/legislation-spotlights-domestic-abuse/. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  8. CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:11-cv-00075-M. United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  9. Arditi, Lynn (22 Aug 2013). "Settlement ends suit by former ward alleging abuse while in care of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families". The Providence Journal. http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20130822-settlement-ends-suit-by-former-ward-alleging-abuse-while-in-care-of-rhode-islands-department-of-children-youth-and-families.ece. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Rhode Island General Assembly. House Resolution Congratulating Nicholas Alahverdian. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Retrieved on 28 June 2013.
  11. About Nicholas Alahverdian. Retrieved on 1 June 2013.
  12. NexusGovernment Articles of Incorporation. Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  13. NexusGovernment. Home page. Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  14. Rhode Island House of Representatives. House Resolution Creating the Rhode Island House of Representatives Emergency Oversight Commission on the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Retrieved on 2 June 2013.
  15. DaSilva reintroduces bill to keep children under DCYF care in state. GoLocalProv. Retrieved on 2 June 2013.
  16. Jaehnig, Dan (1 March 2011). "Man claims he was abused in DCYF care". NBC News. http://www.turnto10.com/story/21103803/man-claims-he-was-abused-in-dcyf-care. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  17. Nicholas Alahverdian: Rhode Island State House Press Conference on 2013 DCYF Legislation.
  18. Rhode Island House of Representatives. House Resolution Congratulating Nicholas Alahverdian. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Retrieved on 16 April 2013.
  19. Lucas Myers - An Essential Self. Retrieved on 13 June 2013.
  20. United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Alahverdian v. Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Et Al. United States District Court. Retrieved on 17 March 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Alahverdian, Nicholas. Alahverdian v. Rhode Island, et. al.. United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. United States District Court. Retrieved on 17 March 2013.
  22. Buteau, Walt (8 April 2011). "Victim of abuse works for DCYF overhaul". WPRI. http://www.wpri.com/dpp/on_air/street_stories/street-stories-providence-victim-of-abuse-works-for-dcyf-overhaul. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  23. Ruggles, Rick (16 September 2010). "State: Boys Town violated rules". Omaha World-Herald. http://www.omaha.com/article/20100916/NEWS01/709169899. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  24. Fields, Robin (7 May 2010). "Florida Regulators Stop Admissions to Troubled Youth Facility". ProPublica. http://www.propublica.org/article/florida-regulators-stop-admissions-to-psychiatric-solutions-youth-facility. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  25. "RI man's lawsuit against DCYF goes to court". The Boston Globe. 27 June 2011. http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2011/06/27/ri_mans_lawsuit_against_state_dcyf_goes_to_court/. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  26. Excerpts of the Nicholas Alahverdian interview on The Buddy Cianci Show. 630 WPRO. Retrieved on 17 March 2013.
  27. Buteau, Walt (28 September 2012). "Former DCYF Orphan Billed 206k by State". WPRI. http://www.wpri.com/dpp/target_12/target-12-former-DCYF-orphan-billed-207K-by-state. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  28. Arditi, Lynn (29 September 2012). "Lawmakers Question Lien Note Sent To Orphan". The Providence Journal. 
  29. Civil Docket for Case #: 1:11-cv-00075-M. United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
  30. Arditi, Lynn (22 Aug 2013). "Settlement ends suit by former ward alleging abuse while in care of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families". The Providence Journal. http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20130822-settlement-ends-suit-by-former-ward-alleging-abuse-while-in-care-of-rhode-islands-department-of-children-youth-and-families.ece. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  31. Rappleye, Bill. Woman claims school staff broke her son's arm. NBC News WJAR. Retrieved on 28 June 2013.
  32. Krause, Nancy. Police await tests in tot's death: Found unresponsive in bed at foster home. CBS 12 Eyewitness News. Retrieved on 28 June 2013.
  33. Phillipe and Jorge (26 June 2013). "The Horrors Continue". The Providence Phoenix. http://providence.thephoenix.com/news/154627-changing-climate-at-white-house/#ixzz2XTmm5Pwg. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  34. Arditi, Lynn (22 August 2013). "Settlement ends suit by former ward of state". The Providence Journal. http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20130822-settlement-ends-suit-by-former-ward-alleging-abuse-while-in-care-of-rhode-islands-department-of-children-youth-and-families.ece. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  35. Buteau, Walt (22 August 2013). "Alleged abuse suit against DCYF settled". http://www.wpri.com/target-12/walt-buteau/wpri-providence-target-12-alleged-abuse-suit-against-dcyf-settled. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Nicholas Edward Alahverdian, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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