Court Monitor Determines DCF Meets Outcome Measures for Needs Met and In-Home Visitation
"These are both noteworthy and well-deserved accomplishments for the Department"Outcome measures of how well the Department of Children and Families meets the needs of children who come to their attention and the frequency of successful in-home visitation have been met, according to the Juan F. Consent Decree Court Monitor's Office.
Measure 4 (Needs Met) was achieved as Department records reflect that 11 separate categories or "domains" of children's needs -- everything from dental care to permanency -- were assessed by Department personnel and services were implemented to address them appropriately.
Measure 5 (In-Home Visitation) sets forth guidelines to visit in-home family cases at least twice a month with documentation that successful contact was made with each active child participant. This measure was achieved by Department staff utilizing creative engagement techniques to assist children and families during these unprecedented times.
"Exceptional work continues to be performed by DCF and their partners during the ongoing pandemic," wrote the Court Monitor. "Commissioner Dorantes and her Executive Team continue to respond to the ever-changing circumstances and emerging challenges of the pandemic. Communication by the DCF Administration has remained frequent, honest and effective with both her staff and external stakeholders…. The committed effort by all the DCF staff in the regions, facilities, and Central Office, despite challenges, barriers and evolving directions related to the pandemic have been notable," the report indicates.
Children and families across Connecticut are benefitting from Agency staff maintaining appropriate staffing levels, enhancement of services within their own communities and improvements in casework assessments.
Governor Ned Lamont, who appointed Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes in January 2019 to serve as Department Commissioner, said, "Commissioner Dorantes has proven that steady leadership, collaboration with our community partners and a family centered approach to the work results in positive outcomes for children and families. I remain proud of the Department's accomplishments."
Commissioner Dorantes said the progress demonstrates the effectiveness of working with families and communities as partners. "Working with families as key allies and engaging the communities in which they reside, results in stronger families and better outcomes for children," Commissioner Dorantes said. "Families are the best supports for children and communities are the best supports for families."
Under the Dorantes Administration, Connecticut has already met the Federal Outcome Measures for caseloads standards and conducting quality and timely investigations while reducing the number of children in out of home care by 19.3%.
The Monitor's report also lists a number of initiatives underway in the Department. "Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic, the Department's efforts with respect to a long list of ongoing initiatives has continued unabated," the report states. Those initiatives listed include: Family First Prevention Plan, Strengthening Families Practice Model, Child Safety Practice Model, Considered Removal Child and Family Team Meetings, Connecticut ChildStat, Traditional Supports and Success (TSS) V.I.T.A.L. Practice Model.