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Three Branch Institute

Connecticut Team

In July 2013, Commissioner Katz led Connecticut's team to the Three Branch Institute on Child Social and Emotional Well-Being sponsored by the National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Casey Family Programs, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for State Courts.  Connecticut was one of 6 jurisdictions selected to participate from a pool of over 20 applicants.

The goal of the Three Branch Institute is to improve the social and emotional well-being of child welfare involved children in participating states by facilitating more effective coordination between the work of states' executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. With ongoing technical assistance and support from national experts at the Three Branch Institute, Connecticut's team, consisting of leaders from Connecticut’s three branches of government, will develop and implement a coordinated, state-specific plan of action to promote and measure well-being among children and youth who are currently receiving child welfare services.  The plan will promote better collaboration across government and explore opportunities to leverage Medicaid and other federal and state funding to support innovative best practices across agencies.  State teams will be engaged with the NGA and its partners through 2014 to develop and begin implementation of the plan.
Since the Institute, the Connecticut team has been meeting monthly to develop a plan to promote and measure well-being for children served by DCF.  Our collective mission is to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of every child in Connecticut is a shared priority objective for Connecticut's Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches.  We have identified three core policy areas - supportive housing, mental health and permanency - each of which is highly correlated to improved well-being outcomes for children served by DCF. 

Connecticut's Three Branch Core Focus Areas:

  • Supportive housing services have been successful in many jurisdictions at reducing rates of maltreatment, removal and foster care placement, as well as increasing long-term housing stability and parental employment. 
  • Effective mental health services and supports have been identified as a critical need for children and families served by DCF.  This focus is timely as the state is focused on planning and implementing Public Act 13-178, An Act Concerning the Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health of Youths. 
  • Permanency for children and youth is a driving goal for child welfare systems.  Every child deserves a permanent connection to caring adults who will nurture and support them throughout their lives.  In 2014, DCF will be implementing “permanency roundtables” statewide.  This practice shift involves a teaming approach to facilitate the permanency planning process by identifying realistic solutions to permanency obstacles for children and youth.  By incorporating the focus on permanency with Connecticut’s Three Branch plan, DCF’s implementation of permanency teaming will benefit from the ongoing collaboration and communication with the Judicial Branch and General Assembly so that we may be more effective in our efforts to identify and alleviate systemic barriers to permanency.
To support these efforts, DCF convened a larger "home team" in early January 2014, with expanded representation from relevant government agencies and other stakeholders.  The home team will help to ensure that Connecticut’s plan connects with ongoing projects related to improving the well-being of children served by DCF.  By integrating the strongest and most relevant findings from existing plans and efforts, the Three Branch home team will be well positioned to facilitate improved coordination and communication across the many efforts that relate to or impact supportive housing, mental health and permanency for children and families served by DCF.  By the end of the project period, the team will provide recommendations and a work plan that will serve as a framework from improving the well-being of DCF-involved children through increased collaboration across the three branches of government. 


Contact Person: 

Elizabeth R. Duryea, Esq.
Chief of Staff
DCF Commissioner's Office
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT  06106
Phone: 860-550-6314
Cell:     860-622-8291
Email:  elizabeth.duryea@ct.gov


CT Three Branch Core Team Members:

Joette Katz, DCF Commissioner, Team Leader
Honorable Bernadette Conway, Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile Matters
Honorable Richard Dyer, Superior Court Judge
Honorable Nina Elgo, Superior Court Judge
State Senator Danté Bartolomeo, 13th Senate District
State Representative Diana Urban, 43rd Assembly District
Kate McEvoy, Director of Health Services for DSS
Susan Smith, Chief of Quality and Planning, DCF
Elizabeth Duryea, Chief of Staff, DCF

    Three Branch Events:

    May 4th - CT Responses to Adverse Childhood Experiences:

         Speaker Biographies
         ACEs Fact Sheet
         ACEs in Connecticut, by Dr. Carol Stone,  CT Department of Public Health
         Why Medicaid Cares About ACEs, by William Halsey, CT Department of Social Services
         A City-Wide Approach to Health Innovation, by Dr. Alice Forrester, Clifford Beers Clinic
         Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences and reducing their impact on New Haven Families:  The MOMS Partnership, Dr. Megan V. Smith, Yale University
         Suggested Reading:  Harris, William W., Lieberman, Alicia F. and Marans, Steven. “In the best interests of society.”  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 48:3/4(2007): 392-411

    June 2013 Three Branch Institute PowerPoint Presentations

         Ambrose - Improving Outcomes for Children
         Lucero - Family Drug Court Presentation, July 2013
         Mackie - Psychotropic Medication Oversight
         Urban - Three Branch Institute, Philadelphia



         50 State Well-Being Legislation 
         ACF Information Memo on Well-Being
         Americas Children:  Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2013
         Electronic Information Exchange - Elements that Matter for Children in Foster Care 
         Glossary of Terms and Key Concepts 
         Three Branch Institute - Additional Resources 
         Three Branch States Well-Being Legislation