Senators Seek Quick Action on “Disconcerting” DCF Report

State House News

After an independent group called for reforms to the way the Department of Children and Families handles appeals, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Wednesday called the report “very disconcerting” and committed to working with the administration to resolve the highlighted issues. Lawmakers last year ordered the state’s Child Advocate to hire an outside consultant to review DCF’s “fair hearing” process. The report released Monday from the Ripples Group found a growing backlog of cases waiting to be decided, a lack of access for families to easily-understood case materials and a system that lends itself to a perception that hearing officers are not independent from department administrators.

“The recent report by the Ripples Group on fair hearings for cases before the Department of Children and Families is very disconcerting,” Rosenberg said in a statement Thursday. “These cases are very personal in nature and deserve action as quickly as possible. The Senate is committed to working with DCF to address recommended changes in the report that require legislative action. Justice delayed is justice denied.” Sen. Michael Barrett said the report “sets an agenda for reform.” “Steps as simple as sending case files to parents earlier can make the process fairer. I hope DCF will act quickly,” Barrett said. – Matt Murphy/SHNS