How Many People at DCF Should be Fired? All of Them


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To the Editor:

Last week, reported that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) had closed an abuse/ neglect case against a child’s family, three weeks before the infant’s death by overdose. DCF staff knew there was a problem, and failed to do their job.

I’m not placing this responsibility on DCF. DCF willingly took on the responsibility of following up on precarious family situations and building procedures for everyone else to follow. It was each employee’s choice to work for the agency and accept that charge. This, of course, does not absolve the mother, father, or anyone else who was aware of the child’s situation from responsibility.

I’m writing today because I have not been vocal about the DCF, despite thinking about the agency, its policies, and the results of their employees’ actions almost every day for the past 18 months. I’ve been aware of repeated wrongs, but have not spoken up against the repeated injustice. I’ve merely made others aware of it.

The wrongs are many and varied: There have been sexual assaults, nonconsensual sex trafficking, missing girls, stolen vehicles, burglaries, alleged rape, child abuse, and now the death of this 10-month-old child. These are just a few occurrences that have happened under DCF’s watch and a number of these crimes have been perpetrated by DCF employees themselves. I do not envy those who write about these topics in the news or read about them.

As someone who works in journalism, my job requires that I stay above the fray in the process of creating trustworthy journalism. In my personal capacity, however, as a father and a human who never wants to read or edit another story about the avoidable death of a child, I believe something needs to change — immediately.

Because employees at the Department of Children and Families not only undertake acts to improve the lives of children but also create policies that limit other people’s ability to do the same, they have chosen to be held to a higher standard. That’s part of the agreement of being a public servant. The absolute single worst thing they work to prevent has come to pass, again. And not only did DCF employees at many levels know the problem, they dismissed it voluntarily.

Certainly, many things went wrong. My point remains the same: 

I know accountability is a process that takes time. This time next year, not a single employee of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families should be employed in their current role, because, barring massive change, the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut should not exist at this time next year. Connecticut should pursue a different approach to community intervention, starting by removing pay and responsibility from those who have failed to provide the oversight they pledged to uphold. Ending the DCF would immediately free up $275 million in payroll, per year, that could be used to fund more successful interventions.

Frankly, those who had a role in this tragic death, and the many other wrongs mentioned previously know who they are. They should have resigned already. I don’t claim to know that is why the DCF commissioner left the agency in January, but I appreciate her decision and will celebrate her success working to help children thrive via a new role in the private sector. But the problem is bigger than one person. I encourage additional whistleblowers to come forward with their experience with DCF so problems can be known and resolved.

I’m sure there are DCF employees who are aware of and see the good that is possible through intentional focus on these troublesome situations and have ideas of how things could be improved. I’d welcome their phone calls or emails, as well as ideas from those outside this broken system who want to play a role in securing the safety of the next generation.

Conner Drigotas

Conner Drigotas is the Managing Editor of He can be reached at His opinions are his own.