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Racial Justice


 The CT Department of children and families (CTDCF) has been focused on the issue of racial justice for many years with its formal journey beginning in 2005 as a participant in the national Breakthrough Series Collaborative focusing on disproportionality and disparities sponsored by Casey Family Programs. After a series of leadership and organizational changes, CTDCF renewed its focus on addressing issues related to Racial Justice in 2011.  In 2012, the Department partnered with JRA consulting and the partnership with its CEO, Jen Agosti has continued throughout the years..  Today, with the support and leadership of Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, along with her administration, achieving Racial Justice and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparate outcomes within the Department has been explicitly included as one of the five strategic agency goals. 

We, at CTDCF, believe in the values of diversity and inclusion.  Specifically, we believe in the diversity of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, experiences, and we value the inclusion of all people and their human differences.   Recognizing that Child Welfare is a system that is flawed and has historically contributed to disproportionality and disparate treatment of children and families, we continue to evolve and most recently with the nation's civil unrest we have elevated our commitment in becoming an anti-racist organization whose beliefs, values, policies and practices achieve racially just outcomes.



Our Bold Mission for the Work of Anti-Racism

The overarching mission of anti-racist work is to examine and redesign the CT Department of Children and Families as an authentically anti-racist agency. This will be apparent in its structures, policies, practices, norms, and values. As this shift is taking place, outcomes for children, families, and staff of color will demonstrate decreases in disparities.  CT DCF is mindful that this work is hard and often times painful for some therefore DCF is committed to cultivating and sustaining an environment that is supported and grounded and in the context of DCF’s  culture of safety, Safe and Sound.   A Safe and Sound  culture is one in which our values, attitudes, and behaviors support psychological and physical safety for staff and the families and children we serve.  Safe and Sound is rooted in principles of respect, trust., candor, equity and racial justice. 

As an anti-racist organization, we will decisively identify, discuss and challenge issues of race and color and the impact(s) they have on our agency, our families, our community, and ourselves. We will challenge ourselves to identify and correct any inequities found within the agency and in the provision of our services.

Commissioner Dorantes has charged CT DCF's Senior Leaders, across every division and function, to develop & refine concrete change initiatives, with associated metrics under their identified sphere of influence.  Therefore in partnership with Senior Leaders,  the members of the Statewide Racial Justice Workgroup (SRJWG)  and members of the 4 subcommittees (See below),  CTDCF will continue to study the impacts of race and racism in the work we do with our families. 





MEMBER LIST:  Statewide Membership





In addition to coming together as a complete SRJWG, Racial Justice work will also be led by the four designated subcommittees as described below. The chairs of the subcommittees will be SRJWG members and each subcommittee will have a broad array of members, including youth, family partners, community members, and providers, ensuring that multiple perspectives are infusing the work. The primary focus of each subcommittee below corresponds to the legislative priorities designated in 2019.


  • Data
  • Practice and Policy
  • Service System
  • Workforce

Subcommittee co-chairs:  Each subcommittee meets regularly and receives support from the Director of Multicultural Affairs as needed.







Guiding Principles, Values and Foundations for our Work at CT DCF

Guiding Principles Slide

Safe and Sound Culture of Safety

Safe & Sound Slide




WEBINARS:  CTDCF Statewide Racial Justice Workgroup & National webinars:




CT DCF Leadership Summit:  From talking the Talk to Walking the Walk (3-31-21)



CTDCF Racial Justice Summit Video (2018)
Summit Handouts












TOOLBOX:  Articles/Videos related to Race, Racism and Anti-Racism






Any questions please contact:
Monica Rams, MS (she, her, hers)
CT Department of Children and Families
Director, Multicultural Affairs
505 Hudson Street, Hartford CT. 06106
Email: monica.rams@ct.gov
For any additional practice related questions please email our newly created DCF Racial Justice Mailbox: