Children in the foster care system are among Connecticut’s most vulnerable young citizens. While there have been a number of significant and encouraging improvements in Connecticut's child welfare system since Commissioner Joette Katz joined the Department in January 2011, Connecticut has much work to do to ensure that it meets its responsibilities to the children and youth in its care. This brief explores avenues for reform:
- Connecticut’s new “multiple track” approach to child welfare is a crucial tool for keeping children at home with their families.
- DCF needs to continue its crucial reforms designed to ensure that children -- especially children under 12 – grow up in families, rather than in expensive institutional and congregate (group) care.
- To reduce overreliance on congregate care, DCF must do a better job of attracting new foster parents and, perhaps even more significantly, retaining the foster parents it already has.
- Youth in DCF care should be empowered to make decisions about their own lives, both on the system and individual case levels.
- DCF must help the children and youth in its care maintain strong relationships with their brothers and sisters.
- Connecticut must improve the quality of legal representation provided to children and youth in DCF care to ensure that their interests are adequately represented in the Juvenile Court.
- DCF needs to continue to improve services for older youth in the system.
- Issue Area:
- Child Welfare