The CT Department of children and families (CTDCF) has been focused on the issue of racial justice for many years with its formal journey beginning in 2005 as a participant in the national Breakthrough Series Collaborative focusing on disproportionality and disparities sponsored by Casey Family Programs. After a series of leadership and organizational changes, CTDCF renewed its focus on addressing issues related to Racial Justice in 2011. In 2012, the Department partnered with JRA consulting and the partnership with its CEO, Jen Agosti has continued throughout the years.. Today, with the support and leadership of Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, along with her administration, achieving Racial Justice and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparate outcomes within the Department has been explicitly included as one of the five strategic agency goals.
We, at CTDCF, believe in the values of diversity and inclusion. Specifically, we believe in the diversity of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, experiences, and we value the inclusion of all people and their human differences. Recognizing that Child Welfare is a system that is flawed and has historically contributed to disproportionality and disparate treatment of children and families, we continue to evolve and most recently with the nation's civil unrest we have elevated our commitment in becoming an anti-racist organization whose beliefs, values, policies and practices achieve racially just outcomes.
Our Bold Mission for the Work of Anti-Racism
The overarching mission of anti-racist work is to examine and redesign the CT Department of Children and Families as an authentically anti-racist agency. This will be apparent in its structures, policies, practices, norms, and values. As this shift is taking place, outcomes for children, families, and staff of color will demonstrate decreases in disparities. CT DCF is mindful that this work is hard and often times painful for some therefore DCF is committed to cultivating and sustaining an environment that is supported and grounded and in the context of DCF’s culture of safety, Safe and Sound. A Safe and Sound culture is one in which our values, attitudes, and behaviors support psychological and physical safety for staff and the families and children we serve. Safe and Sound is rooted in principles of respect, trust., candor, equity and racial justice.
As an anti-racist organization, we will decisively identify, discuss and challenge issues of race and color and the impact(s) they have on our agency, our families, our community, and ourselves. We will challenge ourselves to identify and correct any inequities found within the agency and in the provision of our services.
Commissioner Dorantes has charged CT DCF's Senior Leaders, across every division and function, to develop & refine concrete change initiatives, with associated metrics under their identified sphere of influence. Therefore in partnership with Senior Leaders, the members of the Statewide Racial Justice Workgroup (SRJWG) and members of the 4 subcommittees (See below), CTDCF will continue to study the impacts of race and racism in the work we do with our families.
MEMBER LIST: Statewide Membership
The FOUR RACIAL JUSTICE SUBCOMMITTEES
In addition to coming together as a complete SRJWG, Racial Justice work will also be led by the four designated subcommittees as described below. The chairs of the subcommittees will be SRJWG members and each subcommittee will have a broad array of members, including youth, family partners, community members, and providers, ensuring that multiple perspectives are infusing the work. The primary focus of each subcommittee below corresponds to the legislative priorities designated in 2019.
- Practice and Policy
- Service System
Subcommittee co-chairs: Each subcommittee meets regularly and receives support from the Director of Multicultural Affairs as needed.
Guiding Principles, Values and Foundations for our Work at CT DCF
Safe and Sound Culture of Safety
- Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) webinar Boldly Leading Anti-Racist Work Within the Connecticut Department of Children and Families - (Sept 2020)
- National Child Welfare Workforce Institute ( NCWWI) webinar and follow up learning exchange series Dismantling Racial Inequity #4 Slow & Steady Wins the Race in Child Welfare Equity (Feb 2018)
- Alliance 4 Racial Equity : Starting with the Numbers : The Importance of Data Collection & Analysis In System Efforts to Eliminate Racial /Ethnic Disparities (May 2016)
- Racial justice Summit (2018)
- Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare (March 2015)
- Strategies to Reduce Racially Disparate Outcomes in Child Welfare, Child Welfare Information Gateway (2016)
- Racial Disproportionality and Disparity in Child Welfare Issue Brief, The National Conference of State Legislatures on disproportionality and disparity in child welfare including a list of various legislative initiatives in other states to address these issues
- Race Matters: How to Talk Effectively About Race – SWC – “Kenneth Hardy, Ph.D…10 Underlying Principles to Consider… Power is relational, contextual and inequitably distributed… Draw distinction between intention and consequences…
Monica Rams, MS (she, her, hers)
CT Department of Children and Families
Director, Multicultural Affairs
505 Hudson Street, Hartford CT. 06106
For any additional practice related questions please email our newly created DCF Racial Justice Mailbox: