Connecticut – Joint Motion Filed for DCF

Governor Lamont Announces Joint Motion Filed for DCF to Exit Juan F. Consent Decree Federal Oversight

HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont announced that a joint motion has been filed by the Office of the Attorney General and the plaintiffs in the Juan F. Consent Decree to end federal court oversight of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“Over the past 32 years, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has made organizational and operational changes that have dramatically improved the way the agency provides services to children and families in Connecticut,” the motion indicates.  The agency is “now well-positioned to move forward without judicial oversight.”

Originally filed in 1989, the lawsuit sought “prospective declarative and injunctive relief” on behalf of the “plaintiff class” of children involved in the Connecticut child welfare system as they were the subject of maltreatment allegations or placed into the care and custody of the department.

Today’s joint filing comes after the latest status report from the federal court monitor confirmed the department has both met and consistently sustained all outcome measures set forth by the court.

“The Court Monitor is confident that the DCF has the necessary infrastructure to continually improve performance related to the achievements made through the Juan F. Consent Decree implementation,” the report states.

The parties now await a date in federal court for the motion to be heard.

“We are grateful for the collaboration between the plaintiffs, court monitor, Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Children and Families to bring forth this legal filing,” Governor Lamont said.  “Children and families will continue to be in the forefront of our efforts moving forward as they deserve our focused and collective efforts.”

“Today’s motion seeks to end three decades of court oversight following documented, significant improvement at DCF,” Attorney General William Tong said.  “I thank Commissioner Dorantes and the dedicated staff at DCF for their professionalism and leadership in committing to sustained reforms necessary to ensure the protection of Connecticut’s most vulnerable children.”

DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes started her career as a social worker with DCF shortly after the consent decree was filed.

“The DCF of today benefits from three decades work of child welfare evolutions and positions Connecticut to lead best practice areas and improved outcomes in support of the children and families we serve,” Commissioner Dorantes said. “We await further direction from the court as to the outcome of this motion.”

The joint filing also noted “durable reform structures” embedded in the agency’s infrastructure.