DCF Vs. Parents: Unfair Tactics? -- C...

DCF Vs. Parents: Unfair Tactics? -- Courant.com

There are 225 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Jul 15, 2007, titled DCF Vs. Parents: Unfair Tactics? -- Courant.com. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

Three years after a Superior Court judge chastised the Department of Children and Families for deliberately distorting facts in a child abuse and neglect case, concerns about the agency's fairness toward ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

anon

Woodbury, CT

#28 Jul 16, 2007
Folks, there are two sides to every story. Please consider that before passing judgement on DCF yet again.
Chris Kennedy

Newington, CT

#33 Jul 16, 2007
Deceipt by DCF is far more common than the courts or the public knows. I have seen reports that list the 7 year old child as a professional along with the Doctors and Counselors on one page, in the next page she is the child. Appeal of charges resulted in additional charges being added against the parent. It seems as though the family court and DCF are focused on destroying our families for the Federal funding the state receives each year.
Nick

New Britain, CT

#34 Jul 16, 2007
Why do you think the DCF is The KGB of the Child Protective services. DCF has that mentality that they above the courts and the law. They need to be stopped and FIRED.

It's time we call the Gov Rell and start cleaning house in DCF and fire everyone totally and start new. Fire anyone in DCF deemed to be incompetent and lazy.

This is why families do not want to move to CT because of DCF and how they treat parents.

Since: Apr 07

Location hidden

#35 Jul 16, 2007
Hartford College Student wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree completely. But I'd like to add:
I think that it would also help if working conditions were better for the people at DCF.
I'm going to take some heat for this, I know... but it seems like social work is a thankless job any way you cut it. These people are criticized for, essentially, not being thorough in their work on any level. They take short cuts and they don't spend enough time with the kids they're supposed to protect to make a fair or unbiased judgement about the parents they're attacking. Although having a heavy case load is not an excuse for negligence... maybe if the case-load for individual social workers was lessened, they'd be able to do a better job?
As you mentioned, people who go into this kind of work are doing it to serve the public... because, frankly, there's no other incentive. It's crappy and thankless work and you're not going to be paid well.
It always astounds me that people claim that children are our most precious natural resource... but when it comes to funding the services necessary to protect our kids and help parents (teaching, childcare, social work, etc.) people won't put their money where their mouths are. Rather than an excuse, perhaps we should take the arguments of DCF as a symptom of the larger ststematic issue: that the government is not committed to funding the vital services that will help and protect families (and neither are the tax payers).
DCF exists for a reason - to protect the interests of children who are in unstable and possibly dangerous home situations. That's a good thing. The fact that it is mismanaged and employs underpaid, overworked employees who don't have enough time or motivation to do their jobs correctly is the problem. Yes, punish the bad guys who falsify records... but we're punishing people for giving into the stresses of a work environment that we created. I'm not saying that I sympathize more with DCF workers than I do with the families who have suffered at their hands... I simply think that just punishing negligent case workers will not eradicate the problem. Punishment without reforming the system will only lead to less people wanting to get involved in social work - which will stress the remaining workers even more, leaving them with even larger case loads and even more incentives to take short cuts... which will lead to more families victimized by the system.
A drastic overhaul of DCF is called for: both in the area of punishment for negligent workers AND an improvement of work conditions so that social workers will be able to actually do their jobs.
Many of my friends in college want to go into social work. They're good people... committed to helping families. I'm sure every DCF worker starts out that way... what happens to them over the years that makes them turn out to be the bad guys?
It would be very difficult to overhaul a system so saturated with incompetence.

Performance evaluations that don't reward excellence OR EVEN good work habits. Everyone gets the same raise regardless of your work performance, outstanding to poor. Managers that are not aware and/or unable to do their jobs, workers that have their phones on auto dial to their union reps. Is this typical, yes. Does this include ALL employees, obviously not. Who out there thinks this is even a mediocre system???
Chris

Hartford, CT

#36 Jul 16, 2007
We were once at the mercy of a DCF worker who falsified reports; documents and took the word of an emotionally disturbed child over the reports of several psychiatrists, therapists and school and hospital social workers. The DCF worker lied to the child and the court and to us; she gave false information; she was destructive to the family unit. We believe to this day that she was the reason that reunification was not successful and we lost our teenage daughter to the streets for 7 years. Today, we have our daughter back, and even our daughter now admits that she was manipulated by the DCF worker. We filed several complaints and nothing to our knowledge was ever done. We were told that the worker was entitled to secrecy. Meanwhile our family was torn apart because she was untrained, unprofessional and manipulated a young girl against her family. Am I surprised by this article? No. I'm a living survivor of what goes on behind the walls of DCF. They all have a personal agenda as far as I am concerned.
Hartford College Student

Washington, DC

#37 Jul 16, 2007
Middletown Joe wrote:
<quoted text>
It would be very difficult to overhaul a system so saturated with incompetence.
Performance evaluations that don't reward excellence OR EVEN good work habits. Everyone gets the same raise regardless of your work performance, outstanding to poor. Managers that are not aware and/or unable to do their jobs, workers that have their phones on auto dial to their union reps. Is this typical, yes. Does this include ALL employees, obviously not. Who out there thinks this is even a mediocre system???
Difficult? Definitely. But what's the alternative? We can't leave it like it is. But we can't shut it down, either. So what can be done?
Eastern CT

Orange, CT

#42 Jul 16, 2007
Those of you who think DCF Social Workers are underpaid had better think again. I believe that a bottom level SW make close to 50k/year with overtime. It jumps way up from there. Throw in a state pension in 25 years and a union that protects incompetence and why would anyone not want to work for DCF? DCF's budget is approaching 1 Billion a year.

The quickest solution to this problem would be to open it up to public scrutiny. Open up the Juvenile Courts to the public. Reporters could report on the facts of the cases while protecting confidentiality.

I think most citizens would be shocked to hear how some people treat their children and even more shocked by how those same children are treated by the system.
Hartford College Student

Washington, DC

#43 Jul 16, 2007
Eastern CT wrote:
Those of you who think DCF Social Workers are underpaid had better think again. I believe that a bottom level SW make close to 50k/year with overtime. It jumps way up from there. Throw in a state pension in 25 years and a union that protects incompetence and why would anyone not want to work for DCF? DCF's budget is approaching 1 Billion a year.
The quickest solution to this problem would be to open it up to public scrutiny. Open up the Juvenile Courts to the public. Reporters could report on the facts of the cases while protecting confidentiality.
I think most citizens would be shocked to hear how some people treat their children and even more shocked by how those same children are treated by the system.
After some of the stories I've heard, having Family Court open to the public seems like a good idea. But the families do deserve a little privacy... If I were involved in this kind of situation with my family, I wouldn't want it splashed all over the newspaper. I think letting the press inside the court room is just a bad idea in general, though.

However, that doesn't mean that there can't be other ways of monitoring these processes. Someone suggested a court watch - which is an excellent idea.

Since: Apr 07

Location hidden

#47 Jul 16, 2007
Hartford College Student wrote:
<quoted text>
Difficult? Definitely. But what's the alternative? We can't leave it like it is. But we can't shut it down, either. So what can be done?
You need a voice of common sense to prevail. You need both management and the workers to compromise.

The interesting thing is BOTH sides benefit from this adversarial thing.

You need an outside group of people to watch oveer them and for that matter all departments.
Mad Grandmother

Middletown, CT

#48 Jul 16, 2007
Hooray for Judge Foley! DCF certainly needs to be reprimanded and it's about time someone does it. We are currently involved with our own DCF nightmare. We have caught the DCF worker lying on several occasions, stretching the truth to fit their needs and resorting to what I call harassment. A quote from the DCF worker when asked about the children's happiness their reply was "We are not interested in the children's happiness, that's not my job." I truely believe that all DCF workers need psychological examinations, 99% would probably fail. They DO think they are above the law and it's about time they are stopped from ruining lives. If Hitler were still alive they would certainly be on his team!!!! You will find that they violate children and parents civil rights.
Eastern CT

Norwich, CT

#50 Jul 16, 2007
Hartford College Student wrote:
<quoted text>
After some of the stories I've heard, having Family Court open to the public seems like a good idea. But the families do deserve a little privacy... If I were involved in this kind of situation with my family, I wouldn't want it splashed all over the newspaper. I think letting the press inside the court room is just a bad idea in general, though.
However, that doesn't mean that there can't be other ways of monitoring these processes. Someone suggested a court watch - which is an excellent idea.
You sound well intentioned but also young. If the Juvenile Court is open to the public, which I believe will fix a lot of these problems, then it is by definition open to the press. The press is supposed to be the conscience of the public. We cannot all be expected to attend every court proceeding, but we can expect the press to attend in some form and publish what it witnesses. Then we can read what has happened and form an opinion. Just like when the press attends government meetings and report what has transpired. The freedom of the press removes the veil of secrecy.

EBB

Since: Mar 07

Ct

#51 Jul 16, 2007
Eastern CT wrote:
<quoted text>
You sound well intentioned but also young. If the Juvenile Court is open to the public, which I believe will fix a lot of these problems, then it is by definition open to the press. The press is supposed to be the conscience of the public. We cannot all be expected to attend every court proceeding, but we can expect the press to attend in some form and publish what it witnesses. Then we can read what has happened and form an opinion. Just like when the press attends government meetings and report what has transpired. The freedom of the press removes the veil of secrecy.
One good thing that would come out of this is that it would put an end to all those parents saying "they took my kids for no reason at all!" and grandparents who say "they won't place the kids with us, for no reason at all!" because the whole state would know the reasons.
OCD

United States

#52 Jul 16, 2007
Connecticut has a Soviet Union style system of justice. Government workers get overpaid, abuse citizens, and take pleasure in the pain of others.

Lies, liars, and cheats, that all that goes on in Connecticut with DCF and in the courts.

Get out of Connecticut with your kids if you still have them. Other states don't put a bounty on taking away children. DCF workers in Connecticut are encouraged to file false reports to make quotas. More than ten time more kids are taken away from good parents that should be.
Former Juvie Attorney

AOL

#53 Jul 16, 2007
DCF workers are not underpaid. When I left the court system four years ago, social workers straight out of college were making an average of $22 an hour, with all the state benefits and use of a state car to conduct their business. The attorneys, on the other hand, were making half that, out of which they had to pay for their own insurance, staff, gas, etc. The DCF supervisors make about 75K a year.

Again, I know lawyers have a bad rep and it is hard to feel sorry for us, but when the stakes are so high, it is not unreasonable to ask that the advocates get paid a decent wage. I am ashamed to admit there were times when I put aside some of my juvie cases (which were about 50% of my practice)for my private pay case so that I could pay my bills. The legal system can be a very scary place and you need a strong advocate if you want to suceed. Once a child is in DCF care, they will fight tooth and nail to keep that kid rather than admit they made a mistake. It's easy to say being underpaid is no reason not to do a good job, but when you are an attorney and you can't afford to buy groceries, there is something wrong with that picture.

This has been going on for years. Eventually, many of the good, dedicated attorneys leave as they can't afford to stay any longer. And the ones that end up losing are the kids.
LMH

Middletown, CT

#54 Jul 16, 2007
There is a new Commissioner - recently approved - Hopefully, she is reading this as well as Governor Rell - there needs to be a major overhaul - There were more stories upon her confirmation from home-school parents and the school using DCF as their bully. Someone needs to make drastic changes.
A survivor

Mystic, CT

#55 Jul 16, 2007
D.C.F. IS TOTALLY ARMED TO DESTOY FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS HELPING THE HEIPLESS IS NOT WHAT THEIR ABOUT LOOK AT THEIR TRACK RECORD IT DOES SPEAK FOR ITSELF.
A survivor

Mystic, CT

#56 Jul 16, 2007
anon wrote:
Folks, there are two sides to every story. Please consider that before passing judgement on DCF yet again.
WHO'S SIDE ARE YOU ON WAIT UNTIL THEIR AT YOUR DOOR OR THE DOOR OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE TRAUMATIZING THEM THEN YOU'LL BE QUICK TO CHOOSE.
The whole worlds watching

Grand Forks, ND

#57 Jul 16, 2007
Hey can every one stop long enough to come to a few general truths..These "case workers" social workers and use of that name/title requires real schooling...years of college.Not hours of learning what form to fill out and what Federal sources of money that can be obtained.
Now I have seen a few posts that state it is a thankless job...hey no one puts a gun to some ones head and says work here or else...The workers make a choice too,and lets be real here this type of story is not new,this has been going on for DECADES,and in every state in the nation.
Lets do one better and simply reveal where all the money comes from per each individual case,have a sharp CPA crunch the numbers and find out just how muchchildren to these agencies really are worth and why some one would want todo such a thankless job,or for that matter head up one of these agencies...
Can you say Racket...?
The whole worlds watching

Grand Forks, ND

#58 Jul 16, 2007
OCD wrote:
Connecticut has a Soviet Union style system of justice. Government workers get overpaid, abuse citizens, and take pleasure in the pain of others.
Lies, liars, and cheats, that all that goes on in Connecticut with DCF and in the courts.
Get out of Connecticut with your kids if you still have them. Other states don't put a bounty on taking away children. DCF workers in Connecticut are encouraged to file false reports to make quotas. More than ten time more kids are taken away from good parents that should be.
Oh Lord another from the land of many waters...and you think Minnesota is better...? Best watch your back,cause when the kangaroo courts get their mits on you,you will soon discover what Minnesota's mental health abuse system is all about too...as well as the corrupt incentives to pad the federal bucks to the local schools for labeled children.....and lets see what other wonderfull agencies of Minnesota that need to survive that will also invade your life...Oh yeah the non-profits...ie. the main denominatioal churches that have their fingers in the pie...do your research on just what else the "church" is doing these days.....Their "god" is money too.
The whole worlds watching

Grand Forks, ND

#59 Jul 16, 2007
Here are a few more notions to ponder. First offpull up your home town states stats on abuse,these are federally mandated items that are suppose to be available to the public. Find the counties and then hit the census stats for individuals considered to have dissabilities....Bet you find some interesting correlations there...The Census definitions is a 150+ PDF file...
Now Minnesota is non-compliant in apx 12 counties as of today with those numbers of abuse,the counties clearly state at the state site "Data Supressed"...wonder why..? Because it would look really funny that the number of cases in rural areas be higher than those of rural areas...It's a nice way for counties to pad their bakrolls,by as a few have pointed out so well...dealing with "contracted" agencies whose services also serve to justify and drive up the usable Federal dollars available...Fraud is a word that comes to mind.Ever wonder what really happened to Social Security...?
I always find it amusing that all these caseworkers have come out of or currently live charmed lives where every one wears rose colored glasses....Or even more amusing those as also pointed out...FRESH out of college...Uhmmmm Like what life experience do they really have going for them...? No children of their own,single,or shacked up,yep lots of committment there....
Minnesota is a cess pool,and a socialist state, which isn't much different than communist state,which isn't much....Oh whats the point....Like some one said;
"Until they come knocking on your door"..

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