Children in DCF Care Should Live in the “Least Restrictive Environment”

Back • Publication Date: June 3rd, 2009

Authors: Tamara Kramer and Alexandra Dufresne, J.D.

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Currently about one in four children who are in the care of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) due to abuse or neglect live in non-family settings. Children deserve to grow up in families, not institutions. Research shows that family-based care is more helpful to children’s emotional, social and educational development than is institutional or group-based (“congregate”) care, and that children who grow up in families have far better outcomes than those who do not.

Many children are placed in temporary congregate care settings based solely on availability, rather than the need for a particular level of care. Connecticut’s child welfare laws should be amended to require Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families to place children in “the least restrictive environment” consistent with their needs.