Judge Rejects Request to End Oversight of DCF

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By STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A federal judge has rejected a request by Connecticut’s child welfare agency to end two decades of federal oversight.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Droney ruled Wednesday that the state Department of Children and Families made progress in improving services to at-risk children, but not enough.

The New York-based Children’s Rights advocacy group opposed DCF’s request to end the oversight, which stemmed from the group’s class-action lawsuit in 1989. Both sides made their arguments to Droney earlier Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Droney’s decision keeps the oversight in place.

It also orders both sides to meet with court-appointed monitor to determine if methods of evaluating DCF’s progress should be updated.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

STATEMENT FROM DCF:

“The Department is disappointed by the Court’s ruling. However, we also are encouraged by the positive comments regarding, in the language of the Court, the “considerable progress” made by the Department. In addition, it is encouraging that the Court recognized that revisiting the Exit Plan Outcome Measures of the Department’s performance may be warranted to bring this case to closure.

In any event, the Department remains focused on continuing the quality improvement activities that have already resulted in substantial and lasting advances in Connecticut’s child welfare system. The forward progress will be sustained in any event. However, the resources now directed to fund the monitoring of the Exit Plan could better be placed directly toward services for children and families. There is no doubt that continued improvements are necessary — but the federal court oversight is not necessary for this progress to carry forward. The Department and our dedicated staff are vigorously committed to continuing the progress we have made in improving outcomes for children and families.”

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