Joette Katz

Recent Posts

Connecticut, hospitality industry join to fight sex trafficking

The warning signs can be a well-dressed man of a certain age checking in to a hotel with an ill-dressed minor girl. The girl might be unwilling or unable to make eye contact. Or she doesn’t have her own money, ID or cell phone. She might show evidence of abuse, physical or psychological. By law, Connecticut hotels now must train their staffs to recognize them. Continue Reading →

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Legislators question shielding DCF from budget squeeze

Legislators are growing increasingly concerned with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s push to lock in an $800 million budget for the state agency responsible for the care of thousands of abused and neglected children – while he promises to slash spending elsewhere. Continue Reading →

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State watchdog: Infant’s neglect suggests systemic failure at DCF

Doctors determined that an infant placed by the Department of Children and Families with relatives had been malnourished for months, had weeks-old breaks in bones in both arms, a brain bleed and numerous other injuries. A state watchdog report released Tuesday called the case an “utter collapse of all safeguards,” while DCF says it was an outlier.
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Malloy celebrates a DCF milestone, undeterred by other setbacks

MIDDLETOWN — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivered a vote of confidence Tuesday to Joette Katz, his only commissioner of children and families. Five days after the suspension of two DCF workers, Malloy joined Katz to celebrate a record in placing at-risk children with family members, instead of foster homes. Continue Reading →

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Federal monitor: Progress being ‘made and sustained’ at DCF

The state Department of Children and Families has “made and sustained progress” toward improving the state’s child welfare system, a federal court monitor reported Monday. The monitor released his “best findings ever” in two key areas – case planning and meeting children’s basic needs. Continue Reading →

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Union protests timing, process of layoffs at juvenile jail

Dozens of people gathered outside Connecticut Juvenile Training School Thursday to protest state layoffs that cut about one-third of the facility’s staff last weekend, creating what one union official called a “potentially life-threatening situation” for those still remaining. Continue Reading →

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Cutting DCF: Right-sizing or wrong-headed?

The Department of Children and Families says it has been able to absorb large budget cuts and better serve vulnerable children by placing more of them with family members and fewer with strangers in expensive group homes. But critics say the agency hasn’t been allowed to redirect enough of those savings into community support to improve outcomes. And more cuts loom. Continue Reading →

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Legislators press DCF on errors in child-risk assessment

Updated Feb. 5 at 4:10 p.m.
The Department of Children and Families faced intense scrutiny from state legislators Thursday morning for not identifying a number of high-risk child abuse cases, and several top officials acknowledged the department’s shortcomings and described steps that have been taken to improve. Continue Reading →

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Closing CT’s juvenile jail: Opportunities and obstacles ahead

With Connecticut’s controversial jail for young offenders slated to close within two-and-a-half years, state leaders have begun to contemplate what an alternative juvenile justice system should encompass. Continue Reading →

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A toddler dies, and the direction of a child welfare agency is tested

The debate over how to best protect children goes back decades, with advocates on one side arguing that keeping families together whenever possible is better for children. But others push back, saying that approach is applied too broadly and keeps children in dangerous environments. Continue Reading →

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Few disciplined over restraints, seclusion in juvenile jails

There were only two cases during the 12-month period ending June 30 in which the Department of Children and Families moved to discipline staff for improperly restraining a youth at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys or the neighboring Pueblo Unit for girls. Continue Reading →

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Legislators press DCF: Do your juvenile jails work?

Fourteen months have passed since Jennie was violently taken down from behind as she walked from one end of the state-run jail for girls to the other. On Thursday, concerned lawmakers on the legislative panel that oversees juvenile justice wanted to know: Where is Jennie now, and how is she doing? And do the jails, which house juveniles convicted of a crime, improve their behavior after they leave? Continue Reading →

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DCF commissioner tells legislators: Don’t close juvenile jails

Under fire over questions about how youths are treated while incarcerated — and facing calls from advocates to close the state’s juvenile jails in Middletown — Department of Children and Families Commissioner Wednesday reaffirmed her commitment to keeping the locked facilities she runs open. Continue Reading →

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