Court Ends Federal Oversight of Connecticut Department of Children and Families

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled to end federal oversight of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF).

For the past 32 years, the state agency has remained under federal oversight after a lawsuit alleged children in their supervision were subject to abuse and neglect.

“This is a great day for Connecticut, and I could not be prouder of the staff at the Department of Children and Families,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “Each and every day they support families and partner with communities to ensure the safety and well-being of children. Moving forward, we expect to continue the high standards of best case practice our children and families deserve.”

Earlier this month, Attorney General William Tong and Lamont filed a joint motion to end the supervision, detailing steps the agency has taken to improve conditions and maintain the satisfactory standards set forth by federal authorities.

“Today’s decision marks the end of three decades of court oversight and is the result of documented and significant improvement at DCF,” Tong said. “This moment was possible because of the dedication and professionalism of Commissioner Dorantes and the entire DCF staff who have committed to the sustained reforms necessary to ensure the protection of Connecticut’s most vulnerable children.”

Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut agreed with the state leaders and granted the motion

“This decision represents more than 30 years of both agency and systems transformations,” DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said. “As a career social worker, my focus in leading the Agency was not on compliance but quality and consistency throughout our case practice. Transparency, well-defined internal quality assurance and improvement structures, and partnerships across public and private agencies will continue to be embedded in all aspects of our work in order to sustain this progress and meet the challenges children, families and communities will face today and in the future.”

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Connecticut Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Vannessa Dorantes” by Connecticut Department of Children and Families



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