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Office of the Child Advocate
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
02/19/2008
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In this episode:

As the state's Child Advocate, she oversees the welfare of Connecticut's children

 

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52:00 minutes (24.97 MB)
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State Child Advocate Jeanne Milstein: Photo by Ryan CassellaState Child Advocate Jeanne Milstein: Photo by Ryan CassellaAs Child Advocate, Jeanne Milstein is charged with overseeing the protection and care of the state's most vulnerable residents.

Milstein has been very critical of the state Department of Children and Families, a department that she says operates in "crisis response" mode...and it's had plenty of crises.

For more than a decade, Connecticut's system of caring for children has been failing. Whether it's appropriate placement for kids who "age out" of state care - or the welfare of those with developmental disabilities - or the struggles to find an appropriate system for dealing with juvenile detention - Connecticut has been in "crisis mode" when it comes to it's most vulnerable citizens.

Milstein's job is to oversee the protection and care of Connecticut Children, and it's been an uphill climb, through many changes in the Department of Children and Families, and associated agencies given the task of caring for kids in the state.

Today, where we live, we welcome back Jeanne Milstein, to take your calls, and to talk about the welfare of children.

To see pictures of Where We Live's in-studio guests, please go to our Flickr page.

You can contact us via email at wherewelive@wnpr.org.


 
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Viability

I think it would be fruitful to talk about how viable a centrally managed agency can be. Time has tested and failed every bureaucracy how can we embrace it. Aren't communities and families more qualified and capable to deal with issues like child abuse and safety? Are we truncating local action via state intervention?

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DCF seems always in crisis because it copes with the worst effects of poverty and neglect amid the wealth and freedom of American society. As a DCF foster parent, I toured CJTS with then- Commissioner Ragaglia. The facility cost $57 million to build and felt like a prison. Many boys, whatever
their "original sins," had their release delayed by status offenses. If they were being "trained," it was to be compliant inmates, not to have useful skills transferrable to the community.
As the mother of 8 children adopted through DCF, we've visited their parents and siblings in several correctional facilities. Substance abuse-- consumption and dealing--alcohol, heroin, Ritalin, and other prescriptions, is a major problem, beyond remedy with strategic goals or wishful thinking.
Mainstreaming is considered the best practice for special ed students, how can we implement it for the poor in society as a whole?

Fran Besmer from Kent, CT