A Message from Commissioner Dorantes...
Over the years, the summer used to signal a bit of a slow-down for our work. Not anymore. The Department has been quite busy, and June was no exception.
Team CT represented us wonderfully during the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors' Pathways to Partnership regional convening.
Representatives from all six New England states participated in two days of information sharing on better ways child welfare systems can engage families. By listening to persons with lived expertise, we become a more responsive system that can tailor our service delivery in ways that parents feel more included, heard, and respected during our interactions.
By mid-June, I was again speaking about our work during the American Public Human Services Association's National Summit.
Over the past 90 years, APHSA has brought together federal, state, and local leaders to "…influence modern policies and practices that support the health and well-being of all children and families and that lead to stronger communities."
Attendees at this convening participated in plenary sessions, design labs and breakout workshops all centered around charting our next course of service.
Raising awareness of the tremendous work happening across CT DCF is vitally important as we continue to evolve.
Did you know that June is Reunification month? We are deliberately taking the opportunity to celebrate children safely returning home to parents strengthened by collaborative efforts across our system. Over the past 12 months, over 550 children have been reunified increasing the total during the pandemic to over 1,200 with a fresh start in the bonds of resilient families.
Successful outcomes are not achieved simply by our agency acting in isolation. In this month's Spotlight on What's Right, we hear from two fathers, Tai Thergood and Olger Zuniga, who have each been reunified with their children. Read about their journeys making Father's Day even more special this year.
Speaking of dads, two great events this month highlighted DCF's Fatherhood work. "Best Dad by Par" was a golf event hosted by the Department to underscore the importance of a father in the life of a child including the unique role of foster fathers. This awesome Fatherhood mural was unveiled on the side of the DCF Hartford Regional Office during a heavily covered press conference.
Speakers at that big reveal shared the collaborative efforts to empower and engage fathers between DCF, the state agencies represented in the CT Fatherhood Initiative (CFI) through the Department of Social Services, My People Clinical Services, The Village for Children and Families Fatherhood Engagement Services (FES) and The Rise Up Group.
"You are to be celebrated…for your uniqueness!" In this PRIDE month edition of our newsletter, Kaelana Dauber, a Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) receiving supports from the Department is highlighted. She teaches us through her courageous journey as member of the LGBTQIA+ community and the message she wishes to impart to other youth in care.
Cultural humility expects that we are open to continual learning and earnest understanding of the historically significant factors impacting members of a collective society. Read more about cultural humility in this article: What is Cultural Humility? 3 Principles for Social Workers
Governor Lamont signed Public Act 22-128 into law. This legislation recognizes June 19th as a CT state holiday. Beginning in 2023, Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Watch the Juneteenth Bill Signing and this historic moment for Connecticut.
TOGETHER We Are …"Partnering with communities and empowering families to raise resilient children who thrive." - This is our mission. It has been embodied throughout this month with all our collective actions.