Fasano Responds to Criticism of Released Videos Showing Abuse within DCF Facilities

September 16, 2015

Hartford – Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement in response to criticism of the Office of the Child Advocate’s (OCA) release of videos showing improper restraints, seclusion and treatment of children under the care of the state Department of Children and Families in the CT Juvenile Training School (CJTS) and Pueblo Unit.

According to a CT News Junkie report, in response to the OCA’s release of these videos, a co-chair of the Children’s Committee, “said she doesn’t understand who benefits from the release of the videos. She said DCF has already come up with an action plan to improve training and decrease the use of restraint and seclusion. ‘The point has been made about what needs to happen…I want us to be moving forward.’”

“It makes me sick to my stomach to hear certain legislators condemn efforts to increase transparency and shine the light on undeniable abuses of some of the most vulnerable children under the state’s care,” said Fasano.

“The release of these videos is vital to helping the public understand exactly what has been going on within DCF’s facilities so that we can have a productive conversation about the future of treatment for Connecticut’s kids. Children are being mistreated, and they deserve full agency transparency regarding what they have experienced. We need to create an environment where this abuse never happens again, and these videos are the key to identifying how we get there.

“I find it interesting that a lawmaker has criticized the release of videos showing the mistreatment of children when the same legislator has shared videos showing the mistreatment of animals to advance legislation. This legislator has introduced multiple bills to protect animals from abuse and restrictive conditions of confinement, which I agree is a very important and worthy cause. Yet, as chair of the state Children’s Committee, she has sat by and watched the problems at DCF unfold, heard the complaints, reports and the pleas from advocates, and done nothing. It is not right to oppose bills that would have done the very same things for our children that were supported for animals, ensuring proper treatment and providing them with independent advocates and an ombudsman.

“The statement that this lawmaker doesn’t ‘understand’ who benefits from the release of these videos is disturbing. Every child who has ever been mistreated and denied a voice in the system benefits, as does any future child who will end up in DCF care. The citizens of this state who are paying for these facilities and programs on the promise that DCF is properly caring for our children benefit, as do the many diligent DCF workers who have tried to call attention to the mistreatment and abuse only to be ignored or retaliated against.”