For Immediate Release - January 09, 2014

HHS Secretary Polanowicz Announces Independent Review of DCF to Strengthen Commonwealth’s Child Welfare System

BOSTON — Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) John Polanowicz today announced HHS has asked the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) to conduct a full, independent review of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) over the coming months. This review will ensure that the Department has the best policies and procedures in place to strengthen families and protect children under its care.

“DCF is responsible for protecting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children from abuse and neglect, and this is not a responsibility that we take lightly,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “The Department has strong policies in place, and the CWLA’s independent review will ensure those policies are the right ones and provide recommendations to further strengthen our child welfare practices.”

HHS has been in communication with CWLA about the scope of such a review and is now moving forward to contract with the agency for an independent review.

The review will assess DCF’s current policies and practices looking at areas of supervision and management, home visits, processing of reports of abuse and neglect and how the Department deals with families with young children, among other areas. At the conclusion of the review, CWLA will determine if there are areas of improvement needed in any of these categories and recommend action steps for such improvements.

“We know that violence, substance abuse, and trauma can have a devastating effect on all children and especially young children,” said Christine James Brown, president and CEO of CWLA. “We also know that there are a range of specific administrative and front-line practices that are necessary to help keep children safe. CWLA intends to bring its standard setting knowledge and on the ground experience with agencies across the country to this quality improvement review that will assess what is working and what is needed to best protect the children of the Commonwealth."

About CWLA

Since 1920, CWLA has been a leading, national organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to succeed. CWLA is comprised of professionals who work with children, advocating on their behalf at the national, state and local level. CWLA publishes professional literature including a peer-reviewed journal, a magazine called the Children’s Voice, and performance standards aimed at helping agencies achieve excellence.

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