DCF unveils plan to combat child abuse - WFSB 3 Connecticut

DCF unveils plan to combat child abuse

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Connecticut Department of Children and Families releases a new early childhood practice guide. (WFSB) Connecticut Department of Children and Families releases a new early childhood practice guide. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families is working on ways to combat child abuse by revealing a new early childhood practice guide on Friday.

The reveal coincides with child abuse prevention month. State commissioners said kids under the age of 5 years old are our most vulnerable citizens.

"They are the most vulnerable, just by virtue of the fact that they can't speak for themselves,” Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Myra Jones-Taylor said. 

That's why the Office of Early Childhood and DCF are working together to try to help those kids. They've released what they call the nation's most comprehensive early childhood practice guide for social workers. The guide will change the types of questions DCF workers ask at assessments, and help them to interpret body language and expressions in children.

"Working with very young children can be especially challenging since they've not yet developed skills to tell us what's happened to them, what they're feeling or what they need,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said. 

Just this week, two DCF managers were fired after authorities said they did not remove children from an unsafe home. Katz said the guide isn't in response to that incident, but will help in future cases.

"We always want to learn from cases,” Katz said. “I think they present opportunities and they can identify weaknesses in our system, but we're not driven by them. We always need to take a step back and say ‘what's the best practice that we can bring to whatever we do?’"

DCF is also working on some other indicatives such as safe sleeping conditions. The department said next they'll be working on preventing head traumas such as shaken baby syndrome.

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