Senator Kane and Human Services Committee Hold Informational Hearing on DCF Procedures

August 26, 2010

State Senator Rob Kane (R-32) yesterday joined fellow members of the Human Services Committee in hosting an informational hearing concerning the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) policies and procedures.

As Ranking Senator of the Human Services Committee, Sen. Kane urged holding the hearing in response to a recent child neglect case in Torrington. Employees of DCF, State Child Advocate Jeannie Milstein, state police and legislators were invited to discuss the current rules and practices of DCF with the goal of strengthening the agency.

“While we realize the difficulties DCF workers face on a daily basis, it is the legislature’s responsibility to oversee and ensure that these workers are protecting the state’s children and families the best that they can,” said Sen. Kane.

During the hearing Jeannie Milstein spoke about numerous child neglect complaints that DCF has failed to handle. She went on to explain that these failures to protect the state’s families were not due to inadequate staff or knowledge, but due to the breakdown in implementing DCF’s policies.

At any point in time, the agency serves approximately 36,000 children and 16,000 families with more than 3,500 full-time employees.

“The Department of Children and Families has a statutory responsibility to abide by the rules and regulations,” said Sen. Kane. “Upon hearing the exact procedures DCF utilizes to address complaints, it appears those procedures are adequate, but that there are not proper checks in place to ensure the procedures are followed in a timely and efficient manner. The July 11th Torrington case is just the latest example of this, and attests to why the legislature needs to perform better oversight of DCF.

“This hearing has provided the legislature with good insight into the workings of DCF and I ask members of the Human Services Committee as well as the General Assembly to seek out avenues for increasing both accountability and efficiency among all state agencies,” said Sen. Kane.