(CBS Connecticut) — The state Department of Children and Families today held a ceremony in Hartford to honor its social workers.

Mary Ann Yarbrough is a social worker in the department’s Norwich Office — and she grew up in DCF care.

Yarbrough praised a department social worker who helped guide her, as the glimmer in a dim world that she needed.

“Her passion and drive, and love that she gave me helped me to see there was hope,” Yarbrough said.

“Even though she was not my social worker, she became my family. We celebrated, and still to this day celebrate holidays together,” Yarbough said. “I refer to her as my older sister.”

Carlos Toro is a social worker in Hartford, and he also grew up in DCF care.

“I feel like I have seen the other side, so that gives me a level of empathy and resilience that you just don’t get out of a book,” Toro said.

The department honored several of its social workers who also serve as foster parents or guardians.

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said the job of the agency’s social workers is more difficult than ever.  She says what they do is remarkable.


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