Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children
Agenda's and Minutes
CJA 2017-2018 Federal Application
3 Year Assessment
3 year Assessment Addendum
2017 National Children’s Alliance Standards
2018 Connecticut MDT Data
CCA/MDT Coordinators Directory
Happy 30th Anniversary to the Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children
About the Task Force
Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children Committees
In 2002, in accordance with Connecticut General Statute Sec. 17a-106a(c), a permanent Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Evaluation Committee was established to review protocols and monitor and evaluate the performance of multidisciplinary teams. The MDT Evaluation Committee is a permanent GTF committee and is charged with reviewing the protocols of all multidisciplinary teams, monitoring and evaluating teams, and making recommendations for modifications to the system of multidisciplinary teams. This committee is elected by the Governor's Task Force membership. The committee's composition is diverse geographically, culturally and by discipline. Current membership includes representatives from child protection, forensic medical providers and interviewers, States Attorney's Office (prosecutors), mental health, victim services, the Attorney General's office and MDT coordinators.
The Governor’s Task Force Executive Committee retreat was held on June 13, 2017 and included executive committee members as well as a diverse make up of professionals from GTF and its committees or workgroups. As a result of this meeting, retreat recommendations were presented and approved at the July 2017 task force meeting. One of the recommendations was to suspend several of the standing committees for the year as the task force completed strategic planning is several areas. During this time, the full task force meet as needed and these meetings replaced several of the Executive Committee meetings. In March 2018, the task force voted to eliminate the Executive Committee and increase the full task force meetings from quarterly to bi-monthly. The by-laws for the task force will be updated to reflect these changes.
The group reviewed current committees, workgroups and activities and agreed that ad-hoc workgroups for each of the following priority areas should be established to replace all the existing workgroups and committees and that the next six months should be used to develop a framework and plans for the next federal grant application which is due May 2018 as follows:
- MDT/CAC Evaluation & Quality Assurance (volunteer lead: Paula Schaffer) This ad-hoc group will develop a plan for how the CT and NCA standards and the MDT evaluation process can be aligned and potentially streamlined and how data is collected and utilized.
- Training (volunteer lead: Margaret Doherty) This ad-hoc group will assess what training is provided both GTF and CCA including Finding Words, Minimal Facts, MDT training; explore sustainability options, and identify training needs and gaps.
- System Gaps & Barriers (volunteer lead: John Leventhal) This ad-hoc group will look at system/service gaps and barriers as well practice fidelity issues (e.g., forensic interviewers, medical interviews, etc.) that have been previously brought to GTF; develop a systemic process for GTF to discuss and track system gaps/barriers on a regular basis and; identify strategies for GTF to develop a common policy platform or agenda.
- Child Fatality Response (volunteer lead: Faith Vos Winkel) This ad-hoc group will explore the potential of a developing a local pilot and a plan for implementation.
The primary focus of this committee is to identify needs and gaps in training, develop a plan to meet the training needs of the multiple disciplines involved in Connecticut teams and throughout the system, and award financial reimbursement for those wishing to attend training. The committee is chaired by Elizabeth Leaming, BS, JD Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Judicial District of Tolland and Kristen M. Clark, GTFJAC Coordinator. The training committee works with an established annual budget and added Finding Words and Minimal Facts as sub-committees.
Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children
331 Wethersfield Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
Tammy Sneed, Director of Gender Responsive Adolescent Serivces
Department of Children and Families
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
(A) individuals representing the law enforcement community;(B) judges and attorneys involved in both civil and criminal court proceedings related to child abuse and neglect (including individuals involved with the defense as well as the prosecution of such cases);(C) child advocates, including both attorneys for children and, where such programs are in operation, court appointed special advocates;(D) health and mental health professionals;(E) individuals representing child protective service agencies;(F) individuals experienced in working with children with disabilities;(G) parents;(H) representatives of parents' groups;(I) adult former victims of child abuse or neglect; and(J) individuals experienced in working with homeless children and youths (as defined in section 11434a of this title).
(2) Existing task force
(1) review and evaluate State investigative, administrative and both civil and criminal judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as intrastate, interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal; and(2) make policy and training recommendations in each of the categories described in subsection (e) of this section.
The task force may make such other comments and recommendations as are considered relevant and useful.
The following individuals serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children. Members have the option of designating a designee for their position on the task force:
Children’s Protective Services
Member: Vannessa Dorantes is the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. She has worked for DCF for 27 years, most recently as the person in charge of the region that includes Danbury, Torrington, and Waterbury in Western Connecticut..
Designee: Tammy M. Sneed is the Director of Gender Responsive Adolescent Services for the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Division of Adolescent and Juvenile Services. As a national expert with over 28-years of experience on Female-Responsive Programming for adolescent girls, she specializes in programming for youth in the legal system. She has developed and implemented a training model educating local and state police departments on how to work with adolescent girls with a focus on trauma; resulting in significant arrest reductions. As the lead of the Girls' Provider Network she has lead DCF in the development of a set of female-responsive program guidelines to guide providers in working with adolescent girls. Also a foster/ adoptive mother she has developed specialized training for mentors, foster and adoptive parents and served as a mentor for forever families parenting adolescent girls. Over the last few years Tammy has focused her efforts on a national crisis; Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). Tammy co-leads HART (Human Anti-trafficking Response Team) with a focus on the service system for this vulnerable population. Tammy co-leads the Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children; with oversight of the 17 Multidisciplinary Teams and 8 Children's Advocacy Centers across Connecticut charged with investigating and responding to cases of severe physical and sexual abuse of children.
Division of Criminal Justice
Member: Kevin T. Kane, B.A., J.D., Chief State’s Attorney, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. Attorney Kane is a co-chairperson of the Task Force. His appointment as Chief State’s Attorney was effective September 5, 2006. As Chief State's Attorney, Mr. Kane is the administrative head of the Division of Criminal Justice, the independent agency of the executive branch of state government that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters in the State of Connecticut. The Division includes the offices of the State’s Attorney for each of the thirteen Judicial Districts in the State of Connecticut and the Office of the Chief State's Attorney in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Attorney Kane joined the Division of Criminal Justice in August, 1972 and rose through the ranks to become the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London, where he served prior to becoming Chief State’s Attorney. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the GTF and its mission.
Designee: Kevin D. Lawlor is the Deputy Chief State’s Attorney for the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief, Attorney Lawlor was the Ansonia-Milford State’s Attorney for twelve years. A prosecutor since 1995, he distinguished himself early in his career by working with the Milford Multi-Jurisdictional Team for the Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse and successfully convicted many of this District’s most serious sex offenders. He also helped to create and supervise the Neighborhood Prosecution Program in the City of West Haven. The Neighborhood Prosecution Program was a federally funded initiative in West Haven which was designed to reduce teen crime and improve the quality of life for the citizens of West Haven. He is a tri-chair of the Governor’s Task Force Justice for Abused Children, a founding member of the Division of the Criminal Justice Diversity Committee, Past President of the Division of Criminal Justice State’s Attorney’s Advisory Board, a former member of the Governing Council for the South Central Child Advocacy Center and he is the former President of the Board of Directors of Guardian Ad Litem Services, a Naugatuck Valley non-profit agency that attempts to improve the quality of life for the chronically mentally ill. In addition, he also volunteers to speak to area youth in coordination with the Milford Bar Association, the North Haven Board of Education and other community organizations about criminal justice issues and the legal profession.
State’s Attorney Lawlor is a graduate of East Haven High School, the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University School of Law. He teaches several criminal justice courses in the Legal Studies Department at Quinnipiac University and has also taught graduate level seminars in Evidence and Legal Aspects of Arson Investigation at the University of New Haven. He also serves as an MPTC certified instructor for the West Haven Police Department, the South Central Criminal Justice Administration and the Milford Police Academy.
Attorney Lawlor is the 2006 recipient of the Connecticut Children’s Alliance Certificate of Appreciation for his commitment to advocate through prosecution for the victims of child sexual abuse, the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Bridgeport N.A.A.C.P., a 2009 inductee of the East Haven High School Hall of Fame, the recipient of the 2013 New Haven Knights of St. Patrick Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, the 2013 District Attorney Award from the University of New Haven, Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science and the 2014 Irish Echo Law and Order 50 Award.
Office of the Chief Public Defender
Member: Christine Perra Rapillo, Esq. is the Chief Public Defender for the State of Connecticut. Prior to assuming this position, Attorney Rapillo served as the Director of Juvenile Delinquency Defense and Child Protection and also supervised the Hartford Juvenile Court Public Defender’s Office for 11 years. In addition, Attorney Rapillo spent several years as a public defender in adult court, trying cases at all levels. Attorney Rapillo has also previously served on the GTF Executive Committee and the Committee on Child Representation along with numerous other state boards and councils in the area of juvenile justice and child protection.
Designee: Susan I. Hamilton, MSW, JD is the Director of Juvenile Delinquency Defense and Child Protection. She administers the Juvenile Unit of the Office of Chief Public Defender, which provides attorneys for all children in child protection matters, indigent children in delinquency, and certain child custody cases, indigent parents in child protection matters and counsel for parents in certain paternity and support enforcement actions. Prior to joining the Division of Public Defender Services, Attorney Hamilton served in various positions at the Department of Children and Families, including Commissioner from 2007-2011, and also represented parents and children in child protection and family cases while in private practice.
Office of the Attorney General
Member: William Tong is the 25th Attorney General to serve Connecticut since the office was established in 1897. He took office on January 9, 2019 as the first Asian American elected at the statewide level, in Connecticut.
Before his election as Attorney General, Tong served for 12 years in Connecticut’s General Assembly representing the 147th District, which includes North Stamford and Darien. Most recently, Tong served as House Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In this position Tong was responsible for all legislation related to constitutional law, criminal law, civil rights, consumer protection, probate, judicial nominations and the Judicial branch, and major areas of substantive law. During his service in the legislature, Tong led passage of landmark legislation, including the Connecticut Second Chance Act, Domestic Violence Restraining Order Act, Lost and Stolen Firearms Act, the Act Protecting Homeowner Rights, and the Act Protecting Schoolchildren.
A Connecticut native, Tong grew up in the Hartford area and attended schools in West Hartford. He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School. He has practiced law for the last 18 years as a litigator in both state and federal courts, first at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, in New York City and for the past 15 years at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP, in Stamford. Tong is the oldest of five children, and grew up working side-by-side with his immigrant parents in their family’s Chinese restaurant. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Stamford with their three children and too many pets to count.
Designee: Carolyn Signorelli is currently with the Child Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office where she has prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases for a total of 18 years. Currently Attorney Signorelli handles a varied case load of child protection trials, defense work in state and federal court and administrative and appellate matters. Attorney Signorelli was appointed in 2006 as Connecticut’s first Chief Child Protection Attorney where she spent 5 years creating a new agency devoted to improving legal representation for children and parents in child protection proceedings. Attorney Signorelli served on the ABA’s National Committee to Improve Parent Representation from 2009 to 2011; the Executive Committee of the Children’s Trust Fund from 2004 until 2013,the Chief Justice’s Public Service & Trust Commission as Co-Chair of the Demographics Committee; the Families With Service Needs Advisory Board convened by the Legislature in July of 2006; the Judicial Department’s Court Improvement Project Strategic Planning Task Force and Training Grant Workgroup. Attorney Signorelli is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Juvenile Law Society and teaches for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Attorney Signorelli received her B.A. from Vassar College in 1986 with General and Departmental Honors and was a Mary Siegrest Hinz Fellow at William & Mary School of Law where she graduated in 1991.
Judicial Branch, Superior Court for Juvenile Matters
Civil/Criminal Court Judge (Connecticut does not delineate between civil and criminal)
Member: The Honorable Patrick L. Carroll III practiced law in Fairfield, CT for seventeen years prior to his appointment as a Judge of the Superior Court in 1996. Since his appointment, Judge Carroll has served in Norwalk, Danbury, Waterbury, Milford, Derby and Bridgeport handling civil, family, housing and criminal matters. He served for five years as Administrative Judge for the Judicial District of Danbury and his most recent assignment on the bench was as the Presiding Judge for Criminal Matters in the Bridgeport GA. Judge Carroll served as Deputy Chief Court Administrator of the Judicial Branch from September 1, 2007 through September 30, 2013. Chief Justice Rogers appointed Judge Carroll as Chief Court Administrator effective October 1, 2013.
Designee: Tasha Hunt is the Deputy Director of Juvenile Probation for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division. She started her career with the Judicial Branch more than 20 years ago as a Juvenile Probation Officer and has held several positions including Juvenile Probation Supervisor and Regional Manager. In her current role as Deputy Director, Ms. Hunt manages the staff and operations of the twelve Juvenile Probation offices across Connecticut. She is committed to the integration of effective practices in probation field offices to ensure positive outcomes for court-involved youth and has played an integral role in the state’s efforts to reform the juvenile justice system. She also serves as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Interstate Compact on Juveniles in her official capacity.
Ms. Hunt represents the agency on several statewide committees including the Connecticut Judicial Branch Human Capital Implementation Committee, Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Incarceration Workgroup, and Youth Homelessness Systems Task Force. Ms. Hunt earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven in the Criminal Justice Department.
Member: The Honorable Bernadette Conway was appointed the Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile Matters in September of 2013. Judge Conway has been a judge of the Superior Court since April of 1999. From 1999 to 2013, Judge Conway presided over criminal, juvenile and family cases, primarily in New Haven. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Conway was an assistant state’s attorney in the Middlesex Judicial District.
Designee: Cynthia L. Cunningham, Esq. - Chief Clerk for Juvenile Matters in the Court Operations Division of the Judicial Branch since 2000; previously served as Clerk of the Juvenile Court in New Haven from June 1996 through December 1999. Currently acts as the primary liaison between the Juvenile Court and the Department and Children and Families.
Child Advocates/Attorneys for Children
Office of the Child Advocate
Member: Sarah Healy Eagan, JD was appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as Connecticut's Child Advocate on August 1, 2013. As Child Advocate, Sarah sets priority reviews for the OCA, manages office operations, and publishes vital information regarding the well-being of children and recommendations for system reform. Prior to this appointment, Sarah served for several years as the Director of the Child Abuse Project at the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, Connecticut. During her years at the Center, Sarah worked to ensure that abused, neglected or special-needs children receive the safety, emotional support, services and education that they need and deserve. Sarah has represented numerous clients in trials, mediations, administrative matters and appeals. Sarah worked to improve service systems for children and their families through participation in various taskforces and working groups, addressing issues such as public access to juvenile proceedings and improving educational outcomes for children in state custody. Sarah has developed training curricula and conducted multiple seminars on education and child welfare law. Sarah has actively participated in drafting and seeking passage of legal reforms to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their families. Prior to working at the Center for Children's Advocacy, Sarah worked as a litigation associate at Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford, Connecticut. Sarah earned a degree in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Designee: Faith Vos Winkel, MSW joined the Office of the Child Advocate in July 2001. Faith serves as the lead for the OCA on matters relating to child fatality review and prevention. She convenes the Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel (CFRP) each month, which reviews all unexpected and unexplained child deaths. Faith is the Child Advocate's principal investigator on any in-depth child fatality investigation requested by the CFRP, the Governor, the General Assembly or conducted at the Child Advocate's discretion. Child fatality reviews focus on the examination of systems and opportunities to improve policies and practices to prevent additional tragedies from occurring. Faith's focus on prevention includes providing training as well as participating in many statewide groups including the Statewide Suicide Advisory Board, the Domestic Fatality Review Board, the Teen Safe Driving Partnership, Maternal Child Health Coalition, the Trafficking in Persons Council, the Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioners Teen Driving Advisory Committee, Prevent Child Abuse American-CT Chapter. Faith has also been involved in numerous child death review initiatives on a national level, including serving on the Advisory Committee to the National Center for the Prevention of Child Death Review. Prior to working at OCA, Faith worked at the State Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities for 15 years, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.
Faith holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.
Connecticut Children’s Alliance
Child Advocacy Centers/Multidisciplinary Teams
Krystal Rich is the Director of the Connecticut Children's Alliance (CCA), a statewide membership organization founded to provide support to Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) across Connecticut through education, training and resources. CCA’s mission is to avail comprehensive state-wide services to all child victims and their families through collaboration, systemic change, public awareness and legislative advocacy. Currently Ms. Rich chairs the NCAtrak Subcommittee and co-chairs the MDT Evaluation Committee of GTF. Prior to coming to CCA, Krystal worked for the Sexual Assault Crisis Service in New Britain, one of CONNSACS nine members centers, where she provided crisis counseling and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault.
Krystal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.
Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center
Member: Anthony DeVincenzo, MA, Training Specialist for the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, is responsible for providing training, technical support and assistance to MDT/CACs and supporting the development of MDT/CACs in underdeveloped areas in the Northeast region of the United States (from PA to ME). NRCAC is a proud supporter of the CT Children’s Alliance and partners regularly with CCA in their efforts to improve and expand the Child Advocacy Centers of Connecticut. Mr. DeVincenzo has worked in the field of child abuse and neglect for more than 16 years, in a variety of roles (e.g. detective/forensic interviewer, trainer, CAC Program Director, MDT coordinator), and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his work.
Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Member: Lauren Gibbons Messner is Executive Director of Connecticut CASA Association; a State-level nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and expanding CASA’s nationally recognized volunteer advocacy programs in service to abused and neglected children in Connecticut. Lauren developed her passion for the CASA mission while serving as a CASA volunteer for Voices for Children in San Diego, CA, in 2011-2012. She was most recently affiliated with Essex County CASA in New Jersey, supporting fundraising and community outreach efforts for a program that served children in Newark and Irvington, New Jersey. Lauren’s previous professional experiences include management best-practice consulting, corporate facilitation, and teaching. She is a skilled trainer and client advisor with over 15 years of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She is also a Navy Reserves Spouse, and mother of three young children. Lauren earned her MSc in Social Anthropology from The London School of Economics in the UK, and her BA in Political Science from Catholic University in Washington, DC.
Advocate for Children with Disabilities
Member: Katie Hanley, LMSW, is the Senior Director of Oak Hill Centers at Oak Hill, the largest disability services agency in Connecticut. Katie is responsible for the administration, supervision and development of Oak Hill’s innovative arm, Oak Hill Centers, which includes several community-based programs that support people with disabilities across the lifespan, improving health and quality of life for thousands of individuals. Katie has been working with youth and adults with disabilities for 20 years and has developed and led disability-focused programs and initiatives at a variety of organizations. Oak Hill’s Center for Relationship and Sexuality Education leads the effort in Connecticut to raise awareness about the hidden sexual assault epidemic for people with intellectual disabilities. Katie travels throughout the country training educators and professionals on the topic, and offers them an overview of resource materials to address the concern in their settings. Katie earned a Master of Social Work from UCONN, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management.
Office of Victim Services
Member: Linda Cimino has served as the Director of the Office of Victim Services (OVS) since January 2000. During her tenure, all of the written publications have been redesigned for consistency in look and text. Ms. Cimino serves on several statewide committees and task forces. Ms. Cimino served as adjunct lecturer at the University of New Haven during the fall semesters of 2002-2005. Currently Ms. Cimino teaches an undergraduate class at Capital Community College. For both institutions she taught sections of Victimology. Prior to her tenure at OVS, Ms. Cimino was the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence for five years and served as the Executive Director of Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis from 1988 - 1995. Ms. Cimino's early career was spent at the New Haven YWCA in the capacities of Public Relations Coordinator and Associate Executive Director and as the Executive Director of the Suzuki Music School.
Designee: Koren Butler-Kurth has worked for the Office of Victim Services since 2002, and currently holds the position of Victim Services Supervisor. Ms. Butler-Kurth and her co supervisor, supervise thirty-four victim services advocates, who provide services to victims in Connecticut’s criminal and civil courts, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and OVS’ central office. Prior to her work for the State of Connecticut, Koren worked as a victim services coordinator and bereavement counselor in Massachusetts, counseling victims and survivors and guiding them through criminal and civil court procedures. Koren holds a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University.
Office of the Victim Advocate
Member: Natasha Pierre serves at the State Victim Advocate and acts as the ombudsman for victims of crime within the criminal justice system and evaluates the delivery of state services to victims. Responsibilities also include recommending system-wide improvements to the General Assembly, working with private and public agencies to enforce the constitutional rights of victims, and filing appearances in court to advocate for victims.
Before being appointed as the State Victim Advocate, Natasha was the Policy & Legislative Director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, and an attorney at Connecticut Legal Services, Inc. and Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc., where she practiced family and housing law. She earned a B.A. from the University of Connecticut with a major in Women’s Studies and a dual-degree in law and social work from the University of Connecticut’s Schools of Law and Social Work. She was awarded the Connecticut Law Tribune’s New Leaders of the Law Award, and has had articles written about her in the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Law Tribune. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a public service sorority.
Designee: Hakima Bey-Coon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rutgers University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School. After earning her law degree, Attorney Bey-Coon served a judicial clerkship under the Honorable Kevin G. Callahan, J.S.C., in the New Jersey Superior Court-Criminal Division. Over the next several years Attorney Bey-Coon served as a staff attorney at Hudson County Legal Services in Jersey City, New Jersey where she represented indigent clients in housing matters and as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office where she prosecuted professional licensing cases. After serving several years in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Attorney Bey-Coon began practicing law at Maya & Associates, P.C. in Westport, Connecticut. Thereafter, Attorney Bey-Coon joined the Office of the Victim Advocate in March 2006. Attorney Bey-Coon is a member of the Victim Services/Victim Advocacy Workgroup of the Task Force and serves on the Systems, Gaps and Barriers and Training Committees. Attorney Bey-Coon is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, an international service organization.
Adult Survivor/Former Victim of Child Abuse and/or Neglect
Member: Alison Johnson is a consultant to nonprofit coalitions in the areas of public policy, state budget analysis, and coalition building. Alison has been in private practice since 1997. She is experienced working with networks of leaders to help them move an agenda forward, including serving as the Chair of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). From 1990-1997 she was the Director of the Nonprofit Human Services Cabinet, a collaborative of twenty of Connecticut’s leading associations, coalitions and statewide human service providers. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Alison is based in Middletown, Connecticut where she served as a head Moderator for primary and general elections in the city.
Alison is a survivor of long-term child sexual abuse. She has served on the Victim/Survivor Advisory Council (VSAC) for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence since its inception in 1995. In 2013, she worked with the Alliance as a consultant to design a curriculum for training of law enforcement officers on sexual assault. Alison was also the Project Manager for a federal US Department of Justice project on confidentiality for the Alliance from 2001- 2005. Alison has served on the Advisory Board of the Aetna Foundation Children’s Center at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. She has also participated in conferences for Safety Net: The National Safe and Strategic Technology Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and presented on health literacy.
Member: Nancy Scirocco Nesbitt is a Vice President in the Government and Not-For-Profit Banking Group. She joined Webster in 2004, starting the commercial bank's specialty focus on serving not-for-profit organizations with tailored banking and investment services, and now handles the banking relationships for a large portfolio of not-for-profit and government entities. Prior to Webster, Nancy worked in non-profit management for over 6 years, with a strong focus in working with various communities and state agencies promoting economic and community development. Previously, Nancy spent over 15 years developing commercial real estate on behalf of developers and major retailers, covering territories in New England and Northern California.
Ms. Scirocco holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a BGS, magna cum laude, from the University of Connecticut. She was an adjunct professor for over six years at Central Connecticut State University, teaching marketing courses. Nancy currently serves on: the WALKS Foundation Advisory Board and the New England’s Knowledge Corridor Advisory Board. She previously served on: the Connecticut Women’s Council (Past President); the Advisory Board for the University of Connecticut’s Program on Nonprofit Leadership and Strategic Networks; the UConn Health Center White Coat Gala Committee (four years); InternHere.com (Board President, 12 years); Board of Directors of Special Olympics Connecticut (was Chair of the Development Committee in 2006 and 2007); the Capital Workforce Partners Board of Directors, the Design Team for the Hartford Public School’s Montessori Erdkinder School and was a Loaned Executive for the Hartford area 1999 United Way Campaign, which raised over $27MM for the greater Hartford region. Nancy is the mother of three children who are survivors of sexual assault and exposure.
Member: Margaret M. Doherty, Executive Director of Connecticut Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families (CAFAF). Ms. Doherty earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate. Ms. Doherty was appointed Executive Director of Connecticut Alliance of Foster & Adoptive Families in December 2012. As a foster and adoptive parent as well as in her professional capacity, Ms. Doherty and her staff provide education, training, support and advocacy for foster, adoptive and relative caregivers throughout Connecticut. Ms. Doherty and her staff work collaboratively with the Department of Children and Families, child welfare professionals and the community regarding issues of importance for the families who serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable children. Foster, adoptive and kinship parents require specialized training and support while they strive to nurture and care for the traumatized children entrusted to their care. As a member of the Governor’s Task Force, she brings the needs of parents and children to other members of task force. Ms. Doherty currently serves as Chair of the task force’s Training Committee.
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Member: Since April 2011, Karen Jarmoc has served as the Executive Director for Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) where she is chiefly responsible for guiding this state-wide organization which serves as the leading voice for victims of domestic violence and those who assist them. During four years in the Connecticut General Assembly, Karen was tapped to lead various initiatives including the improvement of workplace safety for correctional employees. In 2008, Karen led the Correctional Staff Health and Safety Task force as its chair resulting in the creation of a permanent Correctional Staff Health and Safety Subcommittee of the Executive Branch. In 2009, Karen was selected to co-chair Connecticut’s Children in the Recession Task Force to assess the impact of the current recession on children. The committee led the General Assembly to pass legislation to create a comprehensive emergency response to assist children and families in tough economic recessional periods. In 2009 and 2010, Karen was honored as a “Children’s Champion” by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for her work in the area of early care and education. Presently Karen serves as co-chair of Connecticut’s Family Violence Model Policy Governing Council which evaluates policies and procedures used by law enforcement when responding to incidents of family violence, including violations of civil restraining orders and criminal protective orders. The Governing Council is responsible for annual reviews and updates of Connecticut’s Statewide Model Policy on the Police Response to Crimes of Family Violence. Karen was also appointed to represent CCADV on the Connecticut Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission. She is also a member of the National Network Against Domestic Violence Policy Committee, the National Lethality Assessment Advisory Council and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence Prevention Council. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from Simmons College and a master’s degree in public policy from Trinity College.
Designee: Kelly Annelli is the Director of Member Organization Services at Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For fifteen years, Kelly worked in the field of Early Childhood Education. Before coming to CCADV in 2015, Kelly was the director of a child development center where she was responsible for program oversight, NAEYC accreditation, state licensing, and operational policies related to standards outlined by the State of Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and NAEYC. Kelly has her bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies and a master’s degree in Human Services with focus Non-Profit Management.
CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS)
Member: Beth Hamilton is the Associate Director of the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly CONNSACS), the statewide coalition of nine community-based sexual assault crisis services programs. Beth has over 15 years of experience working to end violence throughout the state of Connecticut including sexual violence, domestic violence, and violence against LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. Beth has been a leader in the development and implementation of statewide policies addressing and preventing sexual violence in Connecticut’s K-12 schools, on our college campuses, and within Connecticut’s correctional system. Beth is responsible for the oversight of The Alliance’s programmatic, communications, and training divisions, as well as manages The Alliance’s Legal Services Team and Post-Conviction Victim Services program which houses 14 specialized victim advocates who work with the state’s Sex Offender Supervision Units in parole and probation. Beth previously worked at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), Connecticut Women’s Education & Legal Fund (CWEALF), and directly serving victims of sexual and domestic violence. Beth is dedicated to the prevention of violence, creating opportunities for survivor-led advocacy, and building anti-oppression movements.
State of Connecticut Department of Education
Member: Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell has been an educator in Connecticut for over 25 years. She was appointed Interim Commissioner of Education in January 2015. Dr. Wentzell began her career in education teaching social studies and directing programs for gifted students. Before her appointment as Interim Commissioner of Education, she served as the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) chief academic officer. Before joining the Department, Dr. Wentzell served as assistant superintendent of schools in Hartford. Prior to that role, she served in district leadership positions with a focus on curriculum, instruction, and assessment in both South Windsor and in the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) magnet schools.
Dr. Wentzell has a bachelor’s degree in Russian studies from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Hartford.
Mental Health Professionals
State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS)
Member: Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon currently serves as Commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, where she also previously held the titles of Deputy Commissioner, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of the department’s Office of Multicultural Healthcare Equity.
In May 2014, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon completed a two-year White House appointment working as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While at SAMHSA, she worked on a range of policy initiatives addressing behavioral health equity, workforce development, and healthcare reform. Dr. Delphin-Rittmon has served as an Assistant Professor and Director of Health Disparities Research and Consultation with the Program for Recovery and Community Health in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. In this role, her professional and research interests have included system-level strategic planning and policy development geared towards eliminating health disparities and promoting recovery oriented care; and individual, organizational, and system level cultural competence including training, program design and evaluation. She received her B.A. in Social Science from Hofstra University, her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical community psychology at Yale University.
Designee: Stephanie Zanker-Rivera, M.S., L.P.C., is a Behavioral Health Clinical Manager with the Office of the Commissioner, Young Adult Services (YAS), Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). In this role, Ms. Zanker-Rivera is responsible for administrative and clinical oversight of several YAS programs across the state and also manages transitions of youth from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to Young Adult Services. Ms. Zanker-Rivera participates in several statewide committees including the Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team (HART), Opening Doors: Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Workgroup and Coordinated Access Subgroup, and the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children as well as the Child Fatality Response Ad Hoc Work Group. Ms. Zanker-Rivera is a Certified Trainer in Introduction to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking for the Department of Children and Families. In 2016, Ms. Zanker-Rivera completed the Yale School of Medicine Leadership Program in Behavioral Health, Women in Leadership. Prior to joining DMHAS, Ms. Zanker-Rivera worked for DCF as a Social Work Supervisor and then Program Manager.
Private Practice Clinicians
Member: Eliza L. Borecka, M.A, M.S.W, L.C.S.W., is the clinical director of Specialized Treatment Services at The Sterling Center for Counseling, a private practice with offices in Cromwell and Shelton, Connecticut. As clinical director she provides evaluations and treatment for families and individuals addressing issues related to trauma, sexual abuse and sexual perpetration. She also provides supervision to a staff of professionals providing treatment to children and adults.
Eliza volunteers for a number of State - and - community based initiatives:
She is a member of three Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams: Greater New Haven - Milford CAC, Middlesex County and The Child Advocacy Center at the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport serving the families of Lower Fairfield County;
Eliza is a clinical member of the Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), and The Connecticut Association for Treatment of Sex Offenders where she is serving as treasurer and a member of The Board of Directors;
In 2015 Eliza participated in the collaborative Planning Team creating a Child Abuse and Assault Awareness and Prevention Program Framework at The Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Center (CONNSAC); Eliza is a trainer for the Center for Family Justice (formerly Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County, Inc.) on the topic: “Sexual Abuse and Sexual Abusers”; She is a member of the NCA National Collaborative Work Group on Youth with problematic Sexual Behaviors.
Eliza is utilizing her extensive training in the area of forensic interviewing to provide psychosexual evaluations and risk assessments in cases of sexual abuse, and she has been called upon as an expert witness in cases related to trauma and sexual perpetration. She offers consultations and trainings on topics related to assessments and treatment of sexually inappropriate behaviors. In 2015 and 2016 Eliza was invited as a guest lecturer to present on assessments of sexual abuse at the Teacher’s College at the Columbia University in NYC, NY. Eliza holds a Master’s Degree from The University of Warsaw, in Poland and an MSW from The University of Connecticut.
Member: Dr. John M. Leventhal is a Professor of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Child Abuse Programs and Child Abuse Prevention Programs at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. Dr. Leventhal has over 35 years of experience providing care to abused, neglected and sexually abused children and has extensive experience collaborating with professionals in the community, such as DCF workers and police, and teaching professionals in the community. Dr. Leventhal chairs the Gaps and Barriers Workgroup and directs the quarterly peer review meetings of the medical clinicians who provide forensic medical exams in the state. He also serves on other important state committees related to child maltreatment.
Law Enforcement Representatives
Member: Lieutenant Seth Mancini has been a member of the Connecticut State Police since 2000. During that time he has been assigned to patrol at Troop C – Tolland, Troop W – Bradley International Airport, and Troop H – Hartford, and then to the Legal Affairs Unit in the Office of the Commissioner. In 2008, he was promoted to Sergeant, and worked as a supervisor in the Legal Affairs Unit, at Troop H – Hartford, and the Central District Major Crime Squad out of Troop I – Bethany. In 2015, he was promoted to Lieutenant, and has served as the Commanding Officer of the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, the Chief of Staff to the Colonel of the State Police, the Commanding Officer of the DESPP Labor Relations Unit, and the Legislative Liaison for the agency to the Connecticut State Legislature. He is currently the Commanding Officer of Troop B – North Canaan. He has served as the DESPP Commissioner’s designee on the Child Fatality Review Board since 2008, and served on the New Haven MDT while assigned to CDMC. He is also a licensed attorney, having received his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Member: Officer Christopher Robak has been a member of the Shelton Police Department since 2012. He has received numerous commendations for his work on cases and was awarded the MADD award in 2014. He was appointed as the Department’s Youth Officer in October of 2016. During this time, he has investigated numerous sexual and physical abuse of children. He has also been active within the schools as well as the Boys and Girls Club in Shelton. He has been a member of the Shelton Youth Service Bureau since 2016 and serves on the Shelton Juvenile Review Board. He graduated Fairfield University in 2003.
Individual Experienced in Work with Homeless Children and Youth:
Member: Stacy Schleif is a senior staff attorney with the Child Abuse Project at the Center for Children's Advocacy. She represents children in the areas of abuse and neglect, and is involved with systemic and legislative advocacy on child welfare issues. Stacy teaches and supervises law school students as part of the Center’s child advocacy clinic; provides pre-service training to attorneys new to juvenile court practice; and participates in the Center’s training programs. Prior to her work at CCA, Stacy spent 14 years representing children and families in varying capacities. She was a supervising staff attorney for the Children and Family Law division of the public defender’s office in Springfield, MA, where she represented children and parents in child welfare cases, and supervised newer attorneys in their representation. She also worked as a trial attorney in the public defender's office in Salem, MA. Stacy holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Haverford College.
Co-Chairs: MDT Evaluation Committee
Krystal Rich is the Director of the Connecticut Children's Alliance (CCA). Biography is listed above.
Paula Schaefer is the program coordinator of Yale Child Abuse Programs. She earned her master’s degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been in this position for 10 years. The Yale Child Abuse Programs provide services for children in the Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, Waterbury and Stamford communities. Paula is also a member of the South Central Child Advocacy Center management team. Paula co-chairs the Governor’s Task Force MDT Evaluation Committee and serves on the GTF Executive Committee.
Connecticut’s Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (HART) Project Director
Tammy M. Sneed, Director of Gender Responsive Adolescent Services (DCF). Biography is listed above.
Connecticut’s Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (HART) Project Coordinator
Yvette Young is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Trinity College and her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College. Yvette has sixteen years of experience working for non-profit organizations. She worked for the YWCA of the Hartford Region's Sexual Assault Crisis Service Program for five years, as a Training Coordinator and then as the Program Director. She worked for Catholic Family Services’ Black Family Enrichment Program as an outpatient therapist for two years. She worked as the Senior Program Director for a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility for children and was recently the Senior Director of Permanency Services at the Village for Families and Children, Inc. She is currently working as the Project Director/HART Coordinator for DCF and the Village for Families and Children Inc. She provides leadership oversight for the HART and GTFJAC grants.
Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children Coordinator
Kristen M. Clark became the coordinator of the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children in June 2008. She graduated from Watkinson Day School and Howard University, with a B.S. in Sociology, before going on to pursue a Master in Social Work at the University of Connecticut. Ms. Clark has been employed with the Village for Families and Children, Inc. for twenty three years where she previously coordinated the agency's emergency preparedness, public policy and advocacy efforts. At the Village she has been responsible for connecting with key community and corporate organizations, developing key legislative relationships, coordinating volunteers, promoting Village programs, and cultivating media and fund-raising prospects. Previously she worked as the interim Director of RAMBUH Family Center, Community Ambassador, supervisor, therapist and case manager in the Village's foster care program. Ms. Clark is also active in the Greater Hartford community through her current and past public service activities including serving on the Boards of Watkinson Day School and Community Health Services; being an adult achiever mentor in the YMCA Minority Achiever Program; a mentor in the Delta Academy; and actively participating as a member of the National Association of Black Social Workers, the Greater Hartford Alliance of Black Social Workers, and the NAACP. She serves as President of the Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Hartford and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she is a past Assistant Secretary of the Eastern Region. In May 2010, Kristen was elected Region I Chair of the Howard University Alumni Association and covers all Howard University alumni in Africa, Europe, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. On a statewide level, Kristen is a commissioner for the African American Affairs Commission of the state of Connecticut’s General Assembly. In March 2017, Kristen was to be selected as a 100 Women of Color 2017 honoree. The 100 Women of Color Gala and Awards recognize 100 women of color from Springfield, Massachusetts to Stamford, Connecticut; for their leadership, entrepreneurial success and community service. Kristen received the additional honor of being selected as the 2017 Valedictorian for the 100 Women of Color.
Ms. Clark coordinates the administrative duties for the Task Force, Finding Words trainings and chairs the Training Committee, the Membership Committee as well as the By-Laws and Website work groups. She participates on several of the committee's and workgroups for the Task Force. Ms. Clark also represents the Governor's Task Force on Connecticut’s Human Antitrafficking Response Team (HART) Project and has participated in HART efforts since Spring of 2014.
MEETINGS: Agendas & Minutes
2017 GTF Committee
GTF Executive Committee (10 people - 1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)
GTF Executive Committee (10 people - 1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)
GTF Executive Committee Minutes (1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)