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CT DCF under court supervision

Court oversight of how Connecticut investigates and cares for abused and neglected children is still necessary after nearly two decades of federal supervision, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The state’s efforts to improve the performance of the state Department of Children and Families was “commendable,” but they fell short of requirements laid out in a consent decree in 1991, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher F. Droney wrote.

“The end may very well be in sight,” Droney wrote, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has cautioned that federal oversight of state services should be temporary. “On the other hand, this case will not end until the state has fully met its responsibilities in addressing the needs of these children.”

Droney, who was named to the bench six years after DCF was placed under court supervision, concluded that “children in the state’s care face unneeded delay and disruption, and continue to go without important services.”

Reacting to the ruling, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said, “the state is committed to continuing the significant improvements made over the past two decades in services for children and their families, regardless of the ultimate outcome of this legal process. We must never settle for anything less than the best for the children in our care.”

Ann H. Rubin, representing Rell’s administration, argued earlier in the day that the state is not violating any federal laws in the care it provides, so the mandates outlined in the consent decree and the more recent renegotiated agreements should be vacated.

“Every aspect of Connecticut’s child welfare system has been completely reformed,” she said, adding “there is virtually no chance of returning” to the conditions that existed when the case originated in 1989, when William A. O’Neill was governor.

But Ira Lustbader of Children’s Right, one of the groups representing plaintiffs in the “Juan F.” class-action lawsuit that led to federal oversight, told the judge that DCF is “still not meeting the most basic delivery” of service needs.

The case has continued through the administrations of three other governors: Lowell P. Weicker Jr., John G. Rowland and Rell.

The most recent court monitor’s report shows DCF met the needs of the children sampled between April and June just 53 percent of the time — well short of the 80 percent goal.

“That’s what they agreed to, that hasn’t happened,” Lustbader said, pointing to a chart in the courtroom showing that during the past four years, DCF has failed to meet the 80 percent goal in even one quarterly report. “They’re not even close.”

These services measured include getting the child a dental visit, eyeglasses or therapy for victims of sexual or physical abuse.

Lustbader also argued that the 80-percent requirement is too lenient, saying that translates to around 1,000 children in DCF care that are allowed to slip through the cracks.

“That’s not onerous enough,” he said.

Jeanne Milstein, the state’s child advocate, echoed Lustbader.

“It’s time to get the job done,” she said.

The ruling did say that because of the progress made by DCF, an end to federal oversight may be in sight and directs Lustbader to meet with DCF to determine if adjustments should be made to the consent decree, specifically how progress is to be measured.

DCF Commissioner Susan Hamilton said in a statement that she is “disappointed” with the decision, but is “encouraged by the positive comments regarding, in the language of the Court, the ‘considerable progress’ made by the Department.”

Lustbader said during a interview following the decision that he will follow the court’s direction and talk about the requirements, “But we don’t see any flaws in them. We are not looking to lower the bar.”

This is the first time since the 1991 decree that any administration has attempted to relieve themselves from its requirements, Lustbader said.

“There is still a long way to go. They need to live up to their obligations, not continually try to avoid them or make a last-ditch effort by this administration to walk away from them,” he said.

A new governor will be elected in November and take office in January. The new administration will be the fourth to try to convince the court that federal oversight no longer is necessary.

This article was found in the CT Mirror

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  • Dave

    More DCF abuses;

    My wife just had our daughter via cesarean section on Thursday, January 6, in Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, CT. It was a very difficult pregnancy replete with migrane headaches and a serious and already-diagnosed hip problems.

    During the pregnancy doctors chose to prescribe percocet for the pain. Percocet is a mild narcotic/analgesic pain reliever. In one incident, the emergency room at Middlesex Hospital chose to prescribe morphine for the migranes and a take-home prescription of percocet.

    Toward the end of my wife’s pregnancy she fell on an icy sidewalk while in Putnam and ended up with a big bruise on her hip. When she called and told me I told her to go to the emergency room at Day Kimball Hospital. The doctor at Day Kimball Hospital looked up her prescription drug record and discovered the past prescriptions for percocet and wrote a report that my wife was engaging in drug-seeking behavior and sent a report to her OB, Dr’s McLeod and Flagg. Who knew of her hip and migrane problems and had prescribed percocet in the past and was also well aware of her pregnancy. Also she had been prescribed percocet from her dentist. She had two surgical extractions and a couple of root canals during the early part of 2010.

    Dr. Flagg immediately assumed the worst and allowed an nurse practitioner to prescribe Fioricet for her discomfort. She never even read her chart to see that she had a history of depression issues. Fioricet is a barbituate that sent my wife into a two day depression where she became suicidal and starting to hate the baby. Fortunately after two days the drug wore off and she returned to normal.

    The following week we saw Dr. McLeod and told her of our issues and she continued to prescribe percocet. Middlesex Hospital also continued to prescribe percocet to control the pain until delivery.

    The day after delivery the social worker from Middlesex Hospital called DCF and accused my wife of prescription drug abuse and threatened to take our newborn from the hospital unless my wife cooperated. Our doctors jumped to the side of DCF and that was after they themselves prescribed the drug. My wife never told a single lie to our doctors regarding her condition and never once asked for narcotics. We were essentially betrayed by our own doctors.

    They took advantage of her weakened condition and one day post-pardum to force her to sign a form stating we couldn’t leave the hospital without her mother supervising and moving in with her to take care of the baby until further notice.

    My wife and I have never had a history of drug abuse but even someone who has still has rights. Ours have been clearly violated.

    We were betrayed by our doctors, the hospital and everyone else in between.

    We’ll be seeing an attorney as soon as possible but unfortunately we have one hell of a mess to clean up.


  • Anonymous

    Dave look of not quit sure how to spell it number you can call is 908- 587 5277 they will show you ho to sue i Federal court time is limited my email is Ive been going through DCF stuff for ten years and you do have rights so pleASE CALL AND ASK ABOUT HOW YOU CAN SUE hEATHER mARIE HER NAME SHES A PARALEGAL YOU HVE THE RIGHT TO SUE AND HOLD ACCOUNTIBLE JUST FIND OUT YOUR RIGHTS. oKAY TRING TO HELP. i LIVE IN gRISWORLD cONNECTICUT:) L. M . Beck

  • Monique

    I have recently had quite the experience with DCF…lying, bullying me, intimidating me, threatening and what was the end result 3 months later? I won and got my grandchildren back and they withdrew all allegations. Imagine that. They withdrew allegations that never existed in the first place! Do you know of a good attorney? I live in Enfield, CT

  • Lauren St.John on Facebook

    no “good”atty.want the case with cps suite. bellaslaw. have a few who help them HELP us. that is RARE first of its kind paralegals,law students nationally all working together for the betterment of us i know sadly atty do it for free definitely,or even barely pro bono etc. just got to take action as say and work with law student paralegals trained key word here TRAIN advocateas.and file ur suit.if not sadly they most likely will return again wen u least expect it….Glad the Grandma her egot her kids back

    and question to blog site owner:CAN I PUT THIS LINK OF CT. cps agency on my facebook,if so EMAIL ME let me know thx.

  • lisa scheck

    i have had a history of drug abuse.from when i was 1989 i became clean n have been since. my oldest child is 14yrs old.believe me,they made me feel like the 22yrs ive been clean was 4 nothing.even after i took a “hair test” 2 check 4 drugs they acted like they didnt believe me n asked me if i was a the end,i wish i had left the state w/my 3 kids.