DCF finds placement for jailed transgender teen

The state Department of Children and Families said Thursday that “Jane Doe,” the 16-year-old transgender girl whose incarceration has become a national civil-rights issue, has been tentatively slated for a transfer to a secure residential treatment facility in Massachusetts.

Joette Katz, the DCF commissioner, said that the teenager has been accepted for admission at a private residential treatment center whose staff is trained in meeting the needs of transgender youths. She will be transferred within two weeks, unless Doe objects.

The placement could resolve an unusually personal controversy for Katz, who defended the girl’s treatment in an op-ed piece in The Hartford Courant, and short-circuit a potential political liability for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The girl, who was adjudicated as a delinquent for assaultive behavior, was transferred to an adult prison after DCF determined she was too dangerous to be housed with other juveniles at a DCF facility. At the prison, she was housed in a building with no adult prisoners.

A Superior Court judge had refused to order her release from the custody of the Department of Correction. According to court documents, Doe suffered a long history of sexual and physical abuse.

Katz, a former state Supreme Court justice who had a become a personal target of critics of Doe’s treatment, said she hopes the girl improves to the point where she could eventually be placed with foster parents.

“This transition will allow her to get the treatment she needs and begin the process of healing,” Katz said. “I hope this can eventually lead to successful re-integration into a family and community as well as a transition to a healthy adulthood.”

At the secure new facility, each teenager has her own bedroom, which is was Doe’s preference.

“The goal of the program is to develop internal controls and teach the youths how to self-regulate their behaviors,” DCF said in a statement. “The program features multiple on-site clinical staff and low staff-to-youth ratios. As Jane Doe progresses in her treatment, she will be given access to community activities. The ultimate goal for youths in the program is a transition to a therapeutic foster home.”

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