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Connecticut's Family First Plan Approved!

In early March, the State of Connecticut Family First Prevention Plan was approved by the United States Children's Bureau!

We express our sincere gratitude to the over 400 community partners including parents and youth with lived expertise, decision makers throughout state government, community organizations, advocates, and contracted providers who provided input over a 2.5-year period. 

Who will be impacted by the plan?

This prevention plan is Connecticut's plan - not solely the child welfare agency's plan - designed to enhance the lives of all of Connecticut's children, youth, and families. 

The priority was to ensure the voices of children and families were truly at the center of the work. 

“I am very proud of the collaborative and deliberate approach taken by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to lead this effort. This is Connecticut’s plan and one that will lead to our children having a brighter future," stated Governor Ned Lamont.

Why was it developed? What is it intended to do?

The plan was written in response to the Family First Prevention Services Act signed into law as part of the U.S. Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This major shift in federal policy will lead to families having greater access to evidenced based mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home skill-based parenting supports intended to stabilize families. It also sets forth enhancements for kinship providers and expectations when children require a treatment intervention in a congregate care facility.

What does this mean for children and families? Who is impacted? What will be the result?

Connecticut's Family First Plan outlines an array of supports for families known to DCF with the goal to enhance our service delivery system leading to the increase in the number of children safely remaining at home and reducing the number of children requiring placement into foster care. 

Connecticut's plan is also unique in the way it intends to provide services to a much broader array of families than other states have proposed. “We have reimagined our system to not only serve those families who come to our attention but have also taken a bold approach to develop supports for families upstream and within local communities resulting in them actually being diverted from involvement with the child welfare agency,” Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said. “We need to continue to lift the negative stigma of seeking help and this plan sets the framework for early intervention right in your own community.”

Connecticut strives to become an agency that empowers families to thrive by walking in partnership alongside them. Family First as an opportunity to continue transforming Connecticut into a well-being system in part, by extending prevention services to families earlier and continuing to realign objectives towards prevention more broadly. 

Major intended outcomes of Connecticut’s Family First Prevention Plan include:

  • Upstream approach that looks to prevent child maltreatment and families requiring child welfare involvement
  • Enhancement of existing Evidence Based Programs available within local communities leading to families remaining safely together
  • Establishment of standards and oversight for children requiring placement into a treatment setting
  • Coordinated approach to supporting kinship providers
  • Encourages cross-system collaboration and partnerships emphasizing equitable access and outcomes
What are the next steps?

Implementation of the plan will now be led by Dr. Sharon Davis in the Clinical and Community Consultation and Support Services Division under the direction of Administrator JoShonda Guerrier. Look for updates in the very near future regarding implementation updates.

The full Connecticut Prevention Plan and Executive Summary can be accessed below:


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