DCF: About DCF


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"Healthy, Safe, Smart and Strong"
  • USD #2 (Unified School District #2)

The Department has five Mandated Areas:

  • Child welfare
  • Children's behavioral health
  • Education
  • Juvenile Services
  • Prevention
The Department operates four facilities, including the Albert J. Solnit Children's Psychiatric Center - North Campus in East Windsor and the South Campus in Middletown, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, and the Wilderness School in East Hartland.
The Department also consists of a Central Office and 14 Area Offices that are organized into five regions.
At any point in time, the Department serves approximately 36,000 children and 16,000 families across its programs and mandate areas each year.

Average number of full-time employees- 3247

Recurring Operational Expenses - $807,655,195


How Much?

In Context

Careline calls

and reports

The Careline received approximately 93,000 calls in State Fiscal Year 2010.  These included over 45,000 reports of suspected abuse or neglect, of which over 24,500 were accepted for investigation.

 Approximately 6,800 reports were substantiated.

Intact families receiving services

As of March 2011, the Department provides treatment services to approximately 3,875 families whose children remain safely at home after an investigation of neglect or abuse.

The number of families whose children live at home and receive Department services has grown by 37 percent since 2002.

Abused and neglected children in care

Approximately 5,000 children in the Department’s custody receive services

 because of abuse/neglect.

The number of children in state care has declined 18 percent since 2004 and 28 percent since 2000.


Agency Overview

Working together with families and communities to improve child safety, ensure that more children have permanent families, and advance the overall well-being of children is the central focus of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF protects children who are being abused or neglected, strengthens families through support and advocacy, and builds on existing family and community strengths to help children who are facing emotional and behavioral challenges, including those committed to the Department by the juvenile justice system.

DCF, established under Section 17a-2 of the Connecticut General Statutes, is one of the nation’s few agencies to offer child protection, behavioral health, juvenile justice and prevention services. This comprehensive approach enables DCF to offer quality services regardless of how a child's problems arise. Whether children are abused and/or neglected, are involved in the juvenile justice system, or have emotional, mental health or substance abuse issues, the Department can respond to these children in a way that draws upon community and state resources to help.

DCF recognizes the importance of family and strives to support children in their homes and communities. When this is not possible, a placement that meets the child’s individualized needs in the least restrictive setting is pursued. When services are provided out of the child’s home, whether in foster care, residential treatment or in a DCF facility, they are designed to return children safely and permanently back to the community.

DCF supports in-home and community-based services through contracts with service providers. In addition, the Department runs four facilities: a secure facility for boys who are committed to the Department as delinquents by the juvenile courts (the Connecticut Juvenile Training School); a children’s psychiatric hospital (Albert J. Solnit Psychiatric Center, North Campus in Middletown and South Campuse in East Windsor) and an experiential program for troubled youth in Connecticut (the Wilderness School).

If you have a question related to the child for whom you are caring, you should start with the child's social worker.  If you are unable to reach the social worker or to resolve the situation to your satisfaction with the social worker, you should call the worker's supervisor.  If problems are still unresolved, you should contact the supervisor's manager, their office director or other senior manager as follows:

  • Social Worker (SW)
  • Social Work Supervisor (SWS)
  • Program Manager (PM)
  • Office Director
  • Regional Administrator
  • Commissioner

If your contact with the DCF area office does not result in a resolution to your question or situation, please contact the DCF Ombudsman's Office at 860-550-6301.

DCF Careline
The Careline is staffed by full-time, highly-skilled professionals of the Department who receive and process reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. The Careline worker gathers critical information from the caller to determine if a report meets Connecticut's statutory criteria for child abuse or neglect. Those reports that meet the criteria are forwarded to a DCF case investigator for prompt and appropriate action.

Current law requires that DCF make its best effort to begin an investigation within two hours if there is imminent risk of physical harm and within 72 hours for other reports.

In situations where it has been determined that an investigation is not warranted, the Careline worker may refer the caller to an appropriate service program in his/her community.

If child abuse or neglect is substantiated, a case may be opened by the Department for protective services provided by staff from the DCF Regional Office or sub-office covering the child's hometown.

To Report Child Abuse and/or Neglect call the Careline:  1-800-842-2288

CONTACT (the Director):
Dakibu Muléy, Interim Careline Director
Desk Phone:  860-560-7002

Adolescent and Transitional Services
Adolescent and Transitional Services assist youth under the care of DCF to make the transition from out of home care to a self-sufficient, productive life as an adult in the community. Adolescent Specialists provide specialized case management services, monitoring and support services through a variety of programs.

Exit Plan/Positive Outcomes for Children
The Department of Children and Families is currently making improvements to the the quality of its services and working to end a Federal Court’s oversight of the agency under a Consent Decree entered into by the State in 1991. This plan, also known as the Exit Plan or the Positive Outcomes for Children Plan, includes 22 goals to improve child safety, permanency and well-being. As many as 17 of the goals have been attained in quarterly measures of these outcomes. 

Juvenile Services
Juvenile services seek to develop competency, accountability, and responsibility in all programs and services through the Balanced and Restorative Justice model (BARJ) – with the ultimate goal of each child achieving success in the community. Juvenile services offer programming through community-based services, private residential treatment, and state-operated facilities. Juvenile services collaborate with community providers, public and private agencies, families and educational agencies to individualize the treatment for each child based on the child’s strengths, culture and ethnicity, and gender, while maintaining community safety.

Medical/Health Services
The Department is responsible for assuring that children in its care and custody receive optimal health care. The administration of health care is overseen centrally and carried out at the area level through resource staff including a pediatrician, psychiatrist, registered nurses and pediatric nurse practitioners. Health care standards, policies, procedures and programs are developed and implemented in accordance with the criteria established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, various federal mandates, and state statutes and guidelines. Case specific medical consultation is provided to DCF facilities, nursing, medical and social work staff on the medical care of children in the care and custody of the Department.

DCF’s prevention efforts promote a range of services that enable children and families to thrive independently in their communities and to apply evidence-based or best practice prevention approaches at strategic points in the DCF continuum of care. This work aims to ensure a smooth, timely and sustained transition for children, youth and families from DCF involvement to a state of independence and well being or to prevent DCF involvement altogether.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender