A Message from Commissioner Dorantes
April is Child Abuse Prevention MonthSpring has arrived and April is Child Abuse Prevention Month! This is a time to reflect on the collective roles we play to assess the safety of children while linking their parents to supports. We know that strengthening the child wellbeing system empowers families and reduces the likelihood of child maltreatment.
From April 27-29th, members of CT DCF Sr Leadership attended the Child Welfare League of America's National Conference in Washington DC. The CWLA's conference theme: The Fierce Urgency of Now–Collective Action to Ensure Children and Families Flourish. Along with CT DCF, Margaret Doherty, the President and CEO of CT Association of Foster and Adoptive Families (CAFAF) and CAFAF staff members Jennifer Bellamy and Raymond Ortiz attended conference plenary sessions, workshops, and forums to learn more about what is happening in child welfare around the country. Our very own Senior Administrator JoShonda Guerrier presented on a (Spotlight Track) panel called Operationalizing a Community Pathway to Prevention: Partnering with Families to Strengthen Communities. I was a panelist for How Leaders and the Media Can Transform the Narrative About Child Welfare.
It is always with tremendous pride that we get to lift up the efforts of the CT DCF workforce. In this edition of the Spotlight on What's Right newsletter we highlight our collective actions across the many aspects of our work. In this month's newsletter, read about Social Work Supervisor Angel Robles as he describes his journey while serving others during careers in law enforcement and social work. What does engagement mean to him? What has he learned while working with diverse groups of individuals and families? Angel also has a personal connection to the Department's mission as exemplified by the support he received within his own family.
For Social Worker Erika McCormack, efforts to engage and assist a young boy suffering grief and loss brought her to the sidelines of his basketball game. "You came," was his response as he ran over to see her. Erika was able to gain a family's trust, look beyond an allegation and connect to a child who simply needed someone to listen and allow him to shed a few tears.
April is also Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Professionals use the term "the Link" to describe the correlation between animal maltreatment, child abuse and neglect. We are grateful for the relationship we have with the CT Department of Agriculture and the established cross-reporting protocols which result in the protection of children and animals within our communities.
April was also a feverish legislative session. Many Thanks to Bureau Chief Ken Mysogland, Assistant Legal Director Kate Dwyer, Legislative Program Director Vin Russo for leading the DCF team to ensure our interests are supported in recommended statute changes. Child and adult mental health bills lead the way in advancing supports for CT's families.
Lastly but certainly not least, a healthy workforce is one that can engage with children, youth, families, and other community partners while at the same time, attending to their own well-being. Let's make sure you take time for yourself. Supports are available for you via EAP at 1-888-993-7650 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your efforts each and every day.