Lost in the shuffle of last week's news cycle was a story about Nicholas Alahverdian (disclosure: Nick is a Casa Diablo regular), who is pursuing a lawsuit against the state's DCYF (Department of Children, Youth and Families). A couple of weeks ago, Alahverdian received a letter from DCYF, which had custody over him as a youth, asserting a lien of nearly $207,000 to cover medical expenses.

This may be entirely legal. But it is rather ironic that Alahverdian's medical treatment was, he says, largely the result of physical abuse he sustained after DCYF shipped him to various out-of-state residential placements as a young ward of the state.

It would seem that the authorities have some 'splainin' to do, as the two out-of-state facilities where he sent Alahverdian were later closed because of chronic abuse.

Channel 12 carried a couple of stories on this last week (a tip of the sombrero to Walt Buteau), but only one small item appeared in the BeloJo. Alahverdian also made a visit to Buddy Cianci's radio show on WPRO to tell his story and is scheduled to tape a public access television show with Joe Vileno this week. But this would seem to be a much bigger story about the deficiencies in our state system of caring for children.

Send Halloween decorations and Pulitzer-grade tips to p&j@phx.com.

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