NOTICE: Watch a video of Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes sharing her plan and vision for the agency

Paws For Kids


The Paws for Kids Initiative is comprised of a group of dedicated DCF staff and animal advocates that are committed to developing Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programming for DCF kids. There is a plethora of research on the positive outcomes of Animal Assisted interventions (i.e. equine therapy, pet therapy) in numerous settings:

  • Helping to reduce anxiety and stress in children (i.e. testifying in court, comfort in therapeutic and medical situations);
  • Helping to teach children responsibility and improve self-esteem;
  • Helping to increase confidence in children learning to read; and
  • Assisting children with physical disabilities or children on the autism spectrum (especially with equine therapy, the rhythmic movement of the horse helps riders posture, mobility, and balance).

Research also shows that Animal Assisted Interventions assist others in need and is used in a variety of settings including senior centers, prisons, and hospitals:

  • AAI has been shown to reduce the effects of dementia and loneliness in seniors;
  • AAI has provided comfort and companionship to veterans with PTSD; and
  • AAI assists prisoners to inspire empathy and help with anxiety and depression.

Through collaboration with animal advocacy community, Paws for Kids aims to develop and implement work in the following 6 core areas:

  • New program development of an AAI credentialed service;
  • Support of existing AAI services in CT;
  • Education for DCF staff (cross reporting/AAI) and animal advocacy community (cross reporting/working with DCF);
  • Marketing and Communication – for new and existing services;
  • Cross Reporting – expanding our partnership with the Department of Agriculture; and
  • Evaluation – how we know that our work is successful.

If you are interested in being part of our Paws for Kids work or would like to share an idea or comment, please let us know!

Out Team
(click on image to view larger size)


View Slideshow of the Paws For Kids June 2018 Event

DCF Staff Survey Results

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) Responses
Cross Reporting AAI Summary
Cross Reporting Results


Animals and Society, Inc. helps improve and expand knowledge about human-animal relationships in order to create safer and more compassionate communities for all. We are the leader in translating research on human-animal interaction into practice, providing essential knowledge and tools, and promoting evidence-based approaches that get results.
Girls in Foster Care Learn Leadership with Rescue Dogs
Do therapy Dogs Really Enjoy Their Job?  You May Be Surprised
Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health
October LINK letter (PAWS FOR KIDS initiative is featured under “Connecticut News” page 6)

Steering Committee Meetings

August 21, 2018

PowerPoint Handout


Diane Rosell

Paws for Kids Mission