NOTICE: Watch a video of Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes sharing her plan and vision for the agency https://youtu.be/R-lkY9fnAbE

Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)

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    THE ODE RESPONSIBILITIES:

    The Department of Children and Families Office of Diversity and Equity (DCF ODE)  Is under the direction of the Commissioner's Office.  The ODE is comprised of equal employment opportunity professionals consisting of an Equal Employment Opportunity Director and Equal Employment Opportunity Specialists. These equal employment opportunity professionals are mandated by Connecticut statutes to coach the DCF in its compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and other applicable civil rights mandates. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-68.   This state law extends to every Connecticut state agency to ensure the State’s day-to-day business operations, practices, policies and procedures align with the intent of federal and state civil rights mandates.

    Offering a civil rights compliance perspective, the ODE collaborates with the DCF’s administration in drafting, reviewing and implementing internal policies, procedures, and practices.  Examples of the ODE’s collaboration with the DCF administration includes, but are not limited to:

    • Mitigate a culture that harbors discrimination, sexual or other illegal harassment.  Conducting independent, objective and timely investigations of employee or client initiated discrimination complaints.   
    • Proactively identify internal practices, policies and procedures that pose a barrier to DCF job applicants, employees, and members of the public services by the DCF who are members a protected class.  If any barriers are found, it is the ODE’s responsibility to formulate practical and timely  recommendations to the Commissioner on how to eliminate those barriers. 
    • Provide mandated discrimination and illegal harassment prevention training to the DCF’s entire workforce (including DCF’s administrators, managers and supervisors).
    • Report the DCF’s good faith efforts to comply with the Connecticut  Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) Affirmative Action Regulations via the writing and submission of the DCF’s annual  Affirmative Action Plan.

    For additional information about the ODE’s responsibilities and its collaborative efforts with the DCF administration, please click on the Contact Us / Meet the Staff.

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    Civil Rights Resources

    Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO)
    Connecticut Department of Social Services - Programs for People with Disabilities
    Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    LGBT Resources (Safe Harbor Project)
    Office of Multicultural Affairs
    Statewide Diversity Action Team
    Statewide Racial Justice Workgroup

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    Policies and Procedures

    ADA Policy Notice
    DCF Civil Rights Policy 1-3
    ODE Overview Policy 7-1 (Anti-Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure)
    Student's Rights Policy 3-3-2

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    Contact Us / Meet the Staff

    Main Office Location:   
    Department of Children and Families
    Central Office
    505 Hudson Street, 7th Floor
    Hartford, Connecticut 06106
    Main Office Telephone: 860-550-6356
    Confidential Facsimile:  860-723-7201
    TDD:  1-800-982-6373

     

    ODE Director

    Ms. Candy Phillips

    ODE Director and Agency Title IX Coordinator

    Office: 860-550-6303

    E-mail: candy.phillips@ct.gov

     

    ODE Manager

    Nick D’Agostino, M.S.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Manager

    Office: 860-550-6658

    E-mail: nicholas.dagostino@ct.gov

       

    Jeri D. Beckford, J.D. 
    Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist 2

    Office: 860-550-6460

    State Cellular: 860-205-4754

    E-mail: jeri.beckford@ct.gov

     

    Irma Reyes, MSL

    Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist 2
    Office: 860-560-5022
    State Cellular: 860-205-5201
    Email: irma.reyes@ct.gov

     

    Shirley Amos-Cooper

    Secretary 2

    Office: 860-550-6356

    E-mail: shirley.amos-cooper@ct.gov

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    How to File a Discrimination or Sexual Harassment Complaint

    Any individual doing business with the DCF as (but not limited to) a client, a foster parent, a provider, a prospective employee, a current employee or other party who is of the belief that an opportunity was denied to them or that harassment (including sexual harassment) occurred due to one’s race; color; religious creed; age; sex (including domestic violence); national origin; ancestry; status as a veteran; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; marital status; pregnancy, criminal record; genetic information; workplace hazards to reproductive systems; present, past, perceived, or having a history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability or physical disability (including but not limited to blindness); and having previously opposed discriminatory activity.   A bona fide occupational qualification may preclude persons in one of these protected classes from asserting a viable discrimination claim..  Questions?  Contact us.

    Forms:

    ODE Overview Policy 7-1 Anti-Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure
    DCF Internal Discrimination Complaint Intake Form (DCF-104)
    Title IX: Initial Complaint Form DCF-2124 (For Sexual Harassment Complainants within the DCF’s Educational Institutions Only) 
    File a Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Complaint with CHRO 
    File a Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Complaint with the EEOC   

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