Connecticut DCF Vows Changes after Child Deaths

By Christoffersen, John | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), June 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Connecticut DCF Vows Changes after Child Deaths


Christoffersen, John, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


NEW HAVEN » The Connecticut Department of Children and Families is promising improvements to help prevent fatalities after a series of child deaths involving families who had contact with the agency.

DCF is expanding its work with child abuse experts from Yale New Haven Hospital and Connecticut Children's Medical Center to improve how investigators, hospitals and primary care providers recognize abuse when a child suffers an injury. The experts are providing education and training and will be more routinely available to the department's care line, which receives reports of abuse and neglect, DCF announced this week."Every child death is a terrible tragedy that the family will never forget or overcome," DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said. "But when a child dies in a family that the department was involved with, it causes a lot of soul searching and questions we ask ourselves about what we could have done differently and better. It's my hope that the actions we are taking today will prevent future tragedies."

DCF said there were six child deaths involving allegations of maltreatment during the first five months of this year in a family with prior or current involvement with the agency. There were 10 such cases last year, six in 2012, seven in 2011, three each in 2010 and 2009, and seven in 2008, DCF said.

The Office of the Child Advocate said it was notified of the deaths of 11 children from families involved with DCF during the same period. Those children, mostly infants and toddlers, died from a variety of causes -- not just from maltreatment -- including a car accident, asphyxiation and possible unsafe sleeping conditions, the advocate's office said. …

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