The Court Monitor in the ongoing federal child welfare reform lawsuit know as Juan F. released the latest report on the progress of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) in meeting the remaining improvement requirements in that lawsuit. The report covers the Second Quarter of 2019 (April-June 2019) and the Third Quarter of 2019 (July-September 2019). The Monitor notes “significant progress has been made with respect to the remaining 2017 Revised Exit Plan measures” particularly on the issue of DCF sustaining lower caseloads for front line social workers serving children and families. Additionally, the Monitor found that “the enhancement of services with documented waitlists that was part of the current budget, along with continued improvements with assessment and care coordination are having a positive impact. The number of incidents of unmet needs identified within sampled cases was considerably reduced from previous quarters.” State officials, including Connecticut Governor and DCF Commissioner, still have to meet 4 of 10 outcomes under the current Court ordered reform plan.
The following statement was issued by Ira Lustbader, Litigation Director at Children’s Rights, and Steven Frederick, Partner at Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky, who are co-counsel for the plaintiff children in the Juan F. case.
“Children’s Rights is encouraged by the areas of progress reflected in this report – especially sustained lower caseloads for DCF front line staff and the improved service array supported by the current DCF budget. DCF case workers are doing difficult work and need the room in their workloads to do their important jobs. Meeting required staffing levels and service resources will be essential for this Administration to fully and successfully exit from this longstanding reform lawsuit. DCF Commissioner Dorantes has been transparent about the problems still facing the Department and we believe she is committed to putting the full weight of her authority behind fixing them.”