Downplaying DCF commissioner’s failures won’t help vulnerable children

There will always be unavoidable tragedies within the state’s Department of Children & Families, yet a recent column in the Day downplayed how Commissioner Joette Katz’s actions have put children in harm’s way. 

For years she ignored the data, warnings and recommendations from child advocates, resulting in the agency repeating mistakes that led to abuse, neglect and death of far too many children. 

Last year, a federal audit found DCF failed to protect children from abuse and neglect in nearly half its cases. Multiple reports have shown a distinct decline in agency performance. 

Yet she continues to fight oversight. 

Gov. Malloy recently vetoed legislation that would have established an independent DCF oversight council. Democrats refused to challenge the veto, despite supporting the measure weeks before. 

Last year, Commissioner Katz tried to force through a plan her own counsel negotiated, without consulting the Attorney General’s office, to remove court oversight of the agency, establish an unprecedented court order controlling all agency funds, and eliminate the legislature’s ability to implement reforms. A group of bipartisan lawmakers opposed this plan. The Attorney General negotiated a new agreement that smoothed a path to exit through agency improvements. 

Connecticut’s children clearly deserve better. The first step to improvement is being honest about how and why the agency has failed the most vulnerable. The next step is finding a leader that will put people before politics and ego. 

Len Fasano

The writer serves as Senate Republican President Pro Tempore. He represents the 34th Senate District, including Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford.

Hide Comments

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

New London community must show its unity in wake of scandal

New London is shocked, angry, and heartbroken to learn that trusted teachers, coaches, and administrators engaged in or allowed our children to be preyed upon and abused. Now that accountability is being demanded of the superintendent, Board of Education, and frankly anyone connected, it...


Turn Mueller Report into a bestseller

A gift horse has been led to our president. An opportunity exists for him to pay off our national debt and finance all the walls he wants to build. It would be so easy. Even though Attorney General Bill Barr has already published the Cliffs Notes version, having cherry-picked its...


How could women back Alabama abortion law?

I was blessed to give birth to a healthy baby girl many years ago. I know the joy that brings to a woman, especially when you first feel movement. I also know the sadness and depression that follows a miscarriage. I know that laws are being passed now to severely restrict abortion,...


Give school board some power over hiring in New London schools

When I was first elected to the New London Board of Education in 1997, the seven-member board would get full application packets of every new hire in the district. These were delivered to our homes and we had 72 hours to voice a concern to the superintendent. If three or more of us voiced a...

TRENDING

PODCASTS