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Connecticut Child Advocate Issues Scathing DCF Report Following Neglect Case

Chion Wolf
Sarah Eagan - Connecticut's Child Advocate
"It is a stunning, staggering tragedy."
Sarah Eagan

Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families has come under fire after a child, placed with a foster parent, was found near-starvation. DCF placed the 18-month-old, known as Dylan, with a relative who’s now been charged with neglect and abuse. 

Child Advocate, Sarah Eagan, released a lengthy report of the case citing multiple institutional failures and omissions on the part of DCF. During an appearance on WNPR’s Where We Live the child’s biological mother called into the show.

"My kids were never abused in the home or neglected, but yet they put him somewhere where he was," she said. "I have plenty of family members who have tried to step up in his case, but DCF has never wanted to listen to us. As we all know, they don’t even document what’s going on."

Dylan and his siblings were removed from their parents’ care last year due to concerns of escalating and chronic neglect, according to the state’s child advocate. They were separated and put into different homes. Dylan was placed with a relative of the mother and removed after the foster parents’ failed to keep appointments.

Child advocate Sarah Eagan said it was the new foster mother who took Dylan to the hospital.

"He was just globally battered, injured, maltreated, malnourished, starving to death," Eagan said. "It is a stunning, staggering tragedy. And a staggering collapse of a series of safeguards that all failed and that’s what has to be looked at."

Eagan said the report is not an indictment of everything DCF does or an indictment of kinship care, which she supports. But, Eagan said, this case represents, among other things, a cultural warning sign about how risk is being assessed.

DCF’s commissioner, Joette Katz, told The Hartford Courant Dylan’s case was an outlier.

Katz was invited to appear on the show, but declined.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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