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The Best of 2021

The year 2021 was met with many challenges. At the same time, the extraordinary efforts of staff across the state, our community partners and the children and families we serve, have resulted in significant accomplishments!

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Please read here for some of our highlights….

  • Balanced the mission critical work of the Agency with the health and safety of our workforce and the children and families we serve. 
  • Established permanency for over 1,500 children which includes more than 570 children being reunified, 445 Transfers of Guardianship and over 500 adoptions. 
  • Submitted the State of Connecticut's Family First Prevention Plan to the Children's Bureau with the input of over 400 unique individuals. 
  • Achieved pre-certification of Juan F. Consent Decree outcome measures pertaining to Needs Met and In-Home Visitation.
  • Reduced the number of children in care by 19.3% since the beginning of the Dorantes Administration.
  • Increased the percentage of children placed with kinship families to 44%.
  • Seal of the Governor of the State of ConnecticutCollaborated and shared best practices in our work with the Governor's Office, sister state agencies, child welfare jurisdictions across the country, community partners and families with lived expertise.
  • Engaged in regular communication with key legislators, Juvenile Court Administration, Attorney General's Office, Public Defenders Office, and Office of the Child Advocate to provide Department updates and resolve issues brought to their attention. 
  • Continued implementation of the Department's anti-racist framework leading to becoming a racially just organization.
  • Trained and presented the Implicit Bias and Anti-Racist framework to all IFP/RTFT providers in the state.
  • Engaged with Legislators throughout the year with invitations to key Department activities, providing them DCF materials and responding to constituent questions. 
  • Commissioner Dorantes served as Co-Chair of Connecticut's Alcohol and Drug Policy Council.
  • Provided written guidance and video recorded messages to all staff, including community partners, clarifying new procedures within the Department and updates on planning efforts.
  • Deer Oaks EAP logo (deer walking in woods)Reinforced with employees the importance establishing a healthy work/life balance and the utilization of internal supports including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 
  • Continued Implementation of Children's Behavioral Health Plan and created the structures for innovative programming, with community partners, in response to an increase in the behavioral health needs of children.  
  • Monitored services to vulnerable populations such as children with specialized needs and children and families in disproportionally impacted communities.
  • Enhanced contact tracing processes guided by DCF Medical Director of all COVID-19 positive diagnosis for caregivers, youth and DCF staff.
  • Commissioner Dorantes served as Co-Chair of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls Health and Safety Subcommittee. 
  • Creatively provided treatment to youth with complex needs in our Solnit North and Solnit South Facilities while mitigating virus transmission. 
  • Regularly updated the COVID-19 website which has resulted in over 50,000 unique individuals accessing supports for children and families. 
  • Produced DCF News highlighting positive efforts of the workforce and information regarding supports available for children, families, and staff.
  • Published a Spotlight on What's Right monthly newsletter highlighting the collaborative work of the Department and community partners leading to successful outcomes for families. 
  • Word cloud of equal opportunity-related terms, such as "discrimination," "job market," and "fairness"Received approval of the Department's Affirmative Action Plan.
  • Remained in consistent contact with leadership from 8 different state employee labor unions to answer questions and clarify operational procedures for staff throughout the department. 
  • Conducted consistent videoconferencing with the Children's League of Connecticut (CLOC).
  • Established meeting cadence with the Non-Profit Alliance to ensure consistency of information and problem solving.
  • Conducted virtual listening tours with the DCF Area Offices and Facilities.
  • Held a "Virtual Adoption Day" where over 45 children achieved formal permanency.
  • "Leadership" written in chalk along with "empower people," "inspire people," "share vision," and "lead change"Coordinated the Leadership Academy for Social Work Supervisors, Leadership Academy for Middle Managers, and the Mentoring program to develop staff in preparation for succession planning. 
  • Established the first ever Executive Fellowship Program for Senior Leaders. 
  • Updated Careline script resulting in an increase in mandated reporters reporting their race leading to a better understanding of structural and institutional racism in the child welfare system.
  • Implemented Restorative Justice practices in STAR programs.
  • Established guidelines to increase the engagement of grass roots, minority-led community providers to the DCF service array.
  • Included Attorney General's Office in particularly complex cases including Critical Incident Case Conferences. 
  • Commissioner Dorantes in the PSA about stage storage of substancesCreated a Public Service Announcement regarding Safe Storage of substances intended for adult use. 
  • Established framework to conduct Virtual Administrative Hearings.
  • Opened the DCF "Olive Branch" Toy Shop where families came to pick out holiday gifts for their own children. 
  • Implemented the ChildStat process in each Regional Office leading to enhanced knowledge of data, trends and case practices leading to successful outcomes. 
  • Conducted over 3,000 Quality Case Reviews and 11,000 Administrative Case Reviews. 
  • Piloted Family Support Liaisons in three Waterbury schools. 
  • Expanded the Juvenile Court Transformation Zone.
  • Commenced the automated Background Check process at the Careline. 
  • Created ABCD Child Safety Practice Model and began implementing it internally and externally
  • Created the frameworks and designs for the Caregiver Practice Model and Kinship Navigator
  • Selected as a "Trailblazer" in a national initiative led by AECF and CSF regarding Congregate Care work. 
  • Increased capacity of Child Abuse Pediatricians to provide expertise and consultation to Department staff. 
  • Actively participated in the National Governor's Association (NGA) Children and Family Learning Cohort leading to sharing our best-case practices with other states across the country.


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