At the 12/1/2010 Community-based Services Division meeting we spent the majority of the meeting identifying major areas of concern related to the division. The major focus of our meeting on 2/2/2011 will be to discuss solutions and action/advocacy steps. (Please note that in the course of conversation some solution-focused ideas were touched upon and I have included them in italics. At our next meeting we will work to fully develop them/)

Administration change:

  • With a new Governor and a new DCF Commissioner there has been a lot of talk about redesigning DCF
  • We need to help inform the decisions to re-shape the design at DCF

Budget crisis:

  • Budgetary cuts will be occurring; this year we may be more likely to see whole programs slashed rather than mere cost-trimming
  • We must be organized, focused, and willing to put forward a strong advocacy effort


  • Data is important; we must look at ways to reconstruct the way we do things to effect cost-savings
  • Historically, it has been difficult to get data from DCF, despite tireless efforts.
  • Though the new leadership may be more forthright, there are still questions about its validity; we should reach out to other sources for data and outcomes
  • Data coming out of DCF and/or ASO is not always accurate

Relationship/lack of partnership with DCF:

  • DCF and the ASO often act unilaterally, making decisions and passing down mandates
  • Frustration that DCF has unilaterally done away with some programs despite providers’ work, improvement, and evolution of the interventions/models. (Examples of the JCMC and Reconnecting Families programs were discussed.)
  • We need to communicate to DCF the effectiveness of programs: data, outcomes, & history. We need to convey what is working, what isn’t, and why
  • DCF often goes around providers to make decisions
  • New DCF leadership is an opportunity to change things
  • We need to be at the table: How can we help kids, help families, and save money
  • Historically, DCF has not exercised transparency regarding budgetary decisions
  • Providers are vulnerable due to the way that contracts are written. When providers “win” an award, they are only winning the right to negotiate a contract

Level of Care & service-related:

  • More and more kids with high acuity needs are being referred into community-based services; these kids often present additional challenges and need more time for treatment. IICAPS programs are getting push-back from the ASO for approvals.
  • Changes in staff credentialing is problematic. DCF wants clinical/quasi-clinical models but fund for the level of staff needed.
  • DCF often refers to kids to programs with openings rather than the program that would be the best fit.
  • Over the years many programs have become “evidence-based models.” With provider’s programs now serving both Child Welfare and Child Protection needs, many children and families whose identified needs are just Child Welfare are not being well-served because they do not fit the requirements. Families often pathologized in order to serve them.

DCF Turnover:

  • Turnover at DCF is a problem; nonprofit providers are constantly being put in a position of having to educate the new DCF workers

Differential Response System:

  • The prospect of rolling out Differential Response Systems (DRS) right now shows DCF’s disconnect to the present economic realities
  • Recognizing that time is short, we need to identify the main items that must be addressed and connect with the key people for a successful roll out to occur

Juan F. Consent Decree:

  • The consent decree looms large and has directed policy & budgetary decisions for many years; Commissioner Katz has been appointed in large part to get the Department out from under Juan F..


  • There is discussion once again about the closure of Riverview. If this were to happen, what would be the effect on kids and the system?

Some general thoughts on the Division organizing:

  • We must get organized and move quickly
  • There is strength in numbers. This new Division offers the ability to present a unified voice. We must trust each other and take risks together.
  • Pulling together data & outcomes and establishing who we are is essential
  • Identification of people to engage concerning issues is more important now than ever, but we need our message to be focused
  • If providers were able to plot on a state map where they provide various services the information could be used as an important legislative tool.
  • We can use membership at CT Nonprofits and other organizations to reach out for existing resources
  • Brevity & bullets should be used when we put materials together
  • A positive result of the TFC redesign was the development of collaborative relationships between providers. To be successful we must think about the communities we serve, not just individual agencies
  • The communication with, and involvement of, front-line staff is necessary to achieve success