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Roadmap for Reform: Latest Monitoring Report Highlights Focus Areas Ahead in Connecticut Child Welfare Lawsuit

Contact: Daniel Kessel, 646-216-3343, dkessel@childrensrights.org

(Bridgeport, CT) – Today an independent court monitor released the latest report on Connecticut’s ongoing efforts to improve its child welfare system, showing that, while the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has maintained performance in several measures under the court-ordered 2017 Revised Exit Plan, there are five outstanding areas that require significant focus.

The report – which covers October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, including the first quarter under the leadership of new DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes – is part of the federal civil rights reform lawsuit known as Juan F. v. Malloy. The lawsuit, led by national advocacy organization Children’s Rights and Steven Frederick of Stamford-based Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky, LLP, requires specific improvements to DCF’s system for protecting abused, neglected and at-risk children in DCF custody, as well as those at risk of entering custody.

“There was major progress under the prior Administration to improve Connecticut’s child welfare system for children and families and to move this important long-standing court-ordered reform lawsuit successfully towards completion,” said Ira Lustbader, Litigation Director at Children’s Rights. “The new Administration under Governor Lamont and DCF Commissioner Dorantes now have a real opportunity to successfully close this case during their tenure, with a focused attention on remaining performance and service gaps.”

DCF has maintained compliance with five measures from the 2017 Revised Exit Plan, leaving five additional areas to prioritize:

  • Child abuse and neglect investigations;
  • Case planning;
  • Meeting children’s specific service needs, particularly in the area of mental health care;
  • Caseworker-child visitation for children who can remain in their family’s homes under agency supervision; and
  • Caseloads for DCF social workers on the frontline of serving kids and families.

“Under a required strategic plan, DCF Commissioner Dorantes has a roadmap for making the improvements needed, and we believe she is committed to continued transparency and accountability,” said Frederick. “We will of course remain active as a watchdog to ensure the thousands of children in the Juan F. class action get the needed services and supports the Court order requires.”

For more information on Juan F. v. Malloy, please visit www.childrensrights.org/connecticut.

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About Children’s Rights: Fighting to transform America’s failing child welfare, juvenile justice, education and healthcare systems is one of the most important social justice movements of our time. Through strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights holds state governments accountable to America’s most vulnerable children. A national watchdog organization since 1995, Children’s Rights fights to protect and defend the rights of young people, because we believe that children have the right to the best possible futures. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.

Wofsey, Rosen, Kweskin & Kuriansky is a full-service law firm founded in 1915 with offices in Stamford and New Canaan Connecticut. For more information, please visit wrkk.com.

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