Gov. Malloy: Federal Court Affirms Department of Children and Families Meets Four Additional Goals, Bringing State Closer to Ending Decades of Oversight
Only Five Outcomes Remain of the 22 Initially Established
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the U.S. District Court overseeing the Juan F. consent decree today affirmed that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has achieved and maintained four more of the 22 measures required to end 27 years of federal oversight of the agency. With these goals met, the court monitor has narrowed the remaining outcomes in the state’s exit plan to only five of the 22 outcomes that existed when the Malloy administration entered office in 2011.
Governor Malloy said the development highlights the significant progress made during the last several years. “We know that working more effectively as partners with families is the right thing to do for children,” the Governor said. “This is another indication that important strides have been made at the department.”
DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said that social work and other staff have shown incredible commitment in changing the agency’s relationship with families and communities.
“This shows that working together with families to make them stronger and more capable is the exact right strategy,” Commissioner Katz explained. “We can do the most good by helping families meet their responsibilities to their children. That is what families want, and that is how Connecticut will become the best child welfare agency in the nation.”
The four measures that the court monitor affirmed the agency has maintained include keeping foster homes within placement capacity, reducing multiple placements, keeping siblings together, and reduction in the use of institutional settings for children in care. These successes are attributable to many changes made at DCF in recent years, particularly having achieved a doubling in the use of relatives and kin in providing family homes to children who must be in state care to ensure their safety and well-being.
The five outcome measures that will remain the subject of federal monitoring include quality case plans and meeting the needs of children. These two outcomes in particular have been challenging because there previously existed 20 separate criteria that needed to be met in order for those goals to be considered achieved under the pre-existing methodology. Those two outcomes have now been streamlined so that there are ten criteria under the two measures combined.
This progress in ending federal court oversight – which initially began in 1991 – is reflective of major positive trends in DCF’s work. In addition to the doubling of the use of kinship homes, DCF has reduced the number of children in care by nearly 10 percent, reduced the number of children in care who are living in institutions by nearly 70 percent, and reduced the number of children receiving services out of state by 97 percent.