Joette Katz

Recent Posts

Juvenile center, ‘costly relic of Rowland era,’ closes

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School — the product of bid-rigging, outdated thinking and poor execution by the administration of Gov. John G. Rowland — closed Thursday as the last three young occupants left the sprawling detention center for home or private residential facilities. Continue Reading →

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In budget deal, a rebuke of the DCF

Critics of the Department of Children and Families are using the bipartisan budget deal to strip the agency of responsibility for its detention facility, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, and give it to the state court system. It’s an implicit rebuke of the DCF’s management of the facility. Continue Reading →

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Federal monitor: DCF can’t meet requirements under ‘current conditions’

After moving closer to compliance with its court supervision exit plan in the first quarter of 2016, the state Department of Children and Families was unable to make additional progress in the second and third quarters of 2016, a federal court monitor reported Tuesday. The court monitor put much of the blame for DCF’s continued failure to meet certain compliance standards on the state government. Continue Reading →

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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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