PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island officials are setting limits on children’s group homes that use “time-out” rooms.

The Providence Journal reports that Regina Marie Costa, the state’s child advocate, said a child in a room with no furniture and with someone standing outside the doorway watching does not reduce stress, but is intimidating.

The practice has come under scrutiny during inspections of Rhode Island’s 76 state-licensed residential facilities.

Kevin J. Au-coin, deputy director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, says the agency is not comfortable with a time-out room without any furnishings. The agency said Tuesday that rooms used for time-outs should be “neat, clean, well lit, comfortably furnished and appropriately ventilated.”

The rooms can only be used for youth ages 6 to 17 years old, and for up to 20 minutes.

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